Illinois Holds Off Indiana In OT
Illinois sank five key free throws late to knock off visiting Indiana in overtime 83-80 Tuesday in the Big Ten opener for both teams.
Illinois center Nnanna Egwu sank two free throws with 22 seconds left in overtime to give the Illini an 80-77 lead at the State Farm Center in Champaign.
Thirteen seconds later Tracy Abrams sank another and Rayvonte Rice closed it with two free throws with 2 seconds left. Rice led Illinois, tying a career high with 29 points to go along with eight rebounds. Abrams had 17 points.
Indiana (10-4) was led by Yogi Ferrell's 30 points.
Coach John Groce attributed the win to his team's toughness.
"We're not pretty all the time, but we battled, we fight and claw and scratch," he said. "We got some tough guys, they're fun to coach."
The Hoosiers led 67-63 with just under 5 minutes to play but had to come from behind on a pair of Ferrell free throws in the final minute to force overtime with the score tied 71-71.
Hoosier freshman Noah Vonleh finished with 16 points and nine rebounds.
Rice's 29 points were a high at Illinois, but he also scored 29 as a sophomore at Drake University.
Illinois improves to 12-2, while Indiana falls to 10-4. The Illini return to action Saturday against Penn State. Tip time is 1:15 p.m.