Illini Knock Out Michigan In Overtime 64-52
The Illini men beat Michigan 64-52 last night at the State Farm Center in Champaign.
Kendrick Nunn connected on a on a three-pointer with 1:22 remaining, capping a seven point Illini run to finish regulation, and sent the game to overtime.
The Illini then scored the first 14 points of the extra period. Nunn led all scorers with 21 points.
"When there's three minutes to go, and you're down by seven, you've got to go now. To finish the game on a 21-2 run, it wasn't necessarily about execution, it was about heart. And I thought our guys played with a lot of heart," said Groce.
The final score belied a game mostly controlled by the Wolverines, a defensive struggle in which Michigan led by as much as eight points, and held the lead for 29:31 of regulation's forty minutes.
Rayvonte Rice returned to action for the first time since January 3rd, playing a key role down the stretch with three steals and five rebounds.
Suspended Illini guard Aaron Cosby was not present at the game. Groce issued a statement beforehand, saying "Aaron is still a part of our program, but I have instructed him to take some time away from basketball this week."
Spike Albrecht led the Wolverines with 13 points and 5 assists.
Peoria native Max Bielfeldt scored a dozen points for Michigan, and grabbed seven rebounds in his final appearance at State Farm Center.
After the game, Michigan Coach John Beilein praised Bielfeldt's effort and attitude.
The official attendance of 17,087 set a new State Farm Center record.
With the win the Illini improve to 17-and-8 on the year, and 7-5 in the Big Ten. Michigan falls to 13-12 (6-7).
Illinois returns to action Sunday in Madison, Wisconsin against the conference leading and fourth-ranked Badgers. That game tips at noon central on CBS.