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Illinois, Northwestern part of State Farm Chicago Legends event

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Thursday afternoon another in-season event was announced, with Big Ten programs Illinois and Northwestern being two of the four participants. The State Farm Chicago Legends event will be played for the first time December 17 at the United Center, with BYU and Dayton making the trip to Chicago as well.

The Cougars facing Illinois in one game and Dayton playing Northwestern in the other matchup.

Of the four teams only Dayton reached the NCAA tournament last season, and with most of their rotation returning Archie Miller’s Flyers are expected to do so once again in 2016-17. BYU, even with the loss of Kyle Collinsworth and Chase Fischer, should also be an NCAA tournament team with Nick Emery returning for his sophomore season and he’ll be joined by the likes of forward Eric Mika and guard T.J. Haws (both return from LDS missions).

Illinois will look to rebound from a disappointing season that included injuries (Tracy Abrams’ ruptured Achilles) and disciplinary issues. Malcolm Hill, one of the Big Ten’s top scorers, will be back to lead the way. And Northwestern will continue its quest for the program’s first-ever NCAA tournament bid, with a promising rotation that includes point guard Bryant McIntosh, small forward Vic Law IV and forward Dererk Pardon.

Illinois’ Leron Black gets probation for threatening bouncer

Illinois forward Leron Black (12) looks to pass while being guarded by Western Carolina forward Justin Browning (23) during an NCAA college basketball game in Champaign, Ill., Saturday, Dec. 5, 2015. (AP Photo/Robin Scholz)
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URBANA, Ill. (AP) Illinois basketball player Leron Black has pleaded guilty to misdemeanor aggravated assault after threatening a bouncer at a campus bar and has been sentenced to a year of probation.

Champaign County State’s Attorney Julia Rietz said Thursday plea that Black was a candidate for probation because he took responsibility for the crime and had no prior record. The 20-year-old Black avoided jail time and the felony assault charge he faced after his Feb. 19 arrest.

Coach John Groce suspended Black after the arrest. A team spokesman did not immediately respond to a question about Black’s status.

Black is one of three Illini players arrested this year.

Juniors Jaylon Tate and Kendrick Nunn have both pleaded not guilty to domestic assault charges stemming from separate incidents in March.

No. 13 Purdue routs Illinois 89-58 in Big Ten quarterfinals

Purdue's Vince Edwards (12), Purdue's Caleb Swanigan (50) and Purdue's A.J. Hammons (20) celebrate during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game against the Illinois in the quarterfinals at the Big Ten Conference tournament, Friday, March 11, 2016, in Indianapolis. Purdue won 89-58. (AP Photo/Michael Conroy)
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INDIANAPOLIS (AP) Purdue reserve center Isaac Haas scored 16 points on 8-of-9 shooting and the No. 13 Boilermakers crushed Illinois 89-58 Friday in the Big Ten Tournament quarterfinals.

Vince Edwards added 14 points, Caleb Swanigan had 11 points and 12 rebounds and Dakota Mathias added 11 for Purdue (25-7), which shot 58.3 percent.

The Boilermakers made 24 of their first 36 shots, including 8 of 14 from 3-point range, taking a 60-27 lead on P.J. Thompson’s 3-pointer with 15:59 left. Consecutive 3-pointers from Edwards pushed the Boilermakers’ lead to 66-30 with 12:13 to play.

Illinois (15-19) got 17 points from Maverick Morgan, 16 from Malcolm Hill and 13 from Kendrick Nunn.

Purdue is trying to win its first Big Ten Tournament title since 2009, the only time the Boilermakers won the event.

Purdue made 18 of 29 shots (62.1 percent) in the first half, including a combined 10 of 10 from Hammons and Haas, en route to a 45-25 lead.

The Boilermakers outrebounded the Illini 20-11 in the opening 20 minutes and limited Illinois to 1-of-8 shooting from 3-point range.

Hammons and Haas each scored 10 first-half points, and Davis added nine points and four assists.

Illinois she 38.5 percent in the first half, getting 12 points from Hill, who scored 30 in January when the Illini hosted the Boilermakers and won 84-70.

TIP-INS:

Illinois: The Illini advanced to the quarterfinals with victories against Minnesota and Iowa, making a combined 24 3-pointers … Illinois’ 27 victories in Big Ten Tournament competition are second-most in the league … The Illini won this tournament in 2003 and 2005.

Purdue: The Boilermakers, along with Michigan State and Maryland, are the only teams to receive double byes in the new 14-team Big Ten Tournament since Maryland and Rutgers joined in 2015 … Including Friday’s victory, Purdue will take a four-game winning streak into Saturday’s semifinals … Before facing Illinois, Purdue’s reserves had outscored the opponent’s bench in 29 of the first 31 games.

UP NEXT:

Purdue: Plays Michigan in semifinal on Saturday.

No. 20 Iowa loses to Illinois, suffering fifth loss in its last six games

Iowa's Mike Gesell (10) and Illinois' Khalid Lewis (3) battle for a loose ball as an official tries to break them up in the first half of an NCAA college basketball game at the Big Ten Conference tournament, Thursday, March 10, 2016, in Indianapolis. (AP Photo/Michael Conroy)
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Having lost four of their last five games of the regular season, No. 20 Iowa looked to establish some positive momentum at the Big Ten tournament this weekend. A team that some believed to be the best in the conference at the end of January has fallen on hard times of late, and that continued Thursday afternoon as they lost to Illinois 68-66 in Indianapolis.

Fran McCaffery’s Hawkeyes have now lost five of their last six games. And even with their efforts to fight back from double-digit deficits on multiple occasions Thursday, one has to wonder if this team has the confidence needed to turn things around ahead of the NCAA tournament.

Jarrod Uthoff and Peter Jok, who have led the way offensively all season long, combined to score 50 points for Iowa. But, as has been the case in multiple games during this streak of losses, they didn’t receive much help from the supporting cast. Remove the eight points scored by Nicholas Baer off the bench, and the other Hawkeyes combined to score a total of eight points. It’s incredibly tough to win games when that’s the case, whether it’s against another NCAA tournament-caliber team or one in Illinois that’s playing simply to keep its season alive.

Anthony Clemmons and Mike Gesell combined to dish out 14 assists, but they also combined to score just three points (all from Gesell) on 1-for-13 shooting from the field. And center Adam Woodbury shot 1-for-7 from the field, scoring two points and grabbing ten rebounds.

During their 2-6 run, with the wins coming over Minnesota and Michigan, the lack of production from the “supporting cast” has been a major issue for Iowa. And given how long this has been the case, does Iowa have what it takes to turn things around? It would be unfair to hold the last two seasons against Iowa because this is a different group, but given past setbacks that’s going to be a question that asked quite often between now and next week.

The NCAA tournament is about match-ups, but a team’s mindset is also an important factor. And in the case of Iowa, they’re mired in a slump at the worst possible time.

No. 14 Maryland blows past Illinois 81-55 in home finale

Maryland guard Jared Nickens (11) reacts with teammates including forward Jake Layman (10) and forward Damonte Dodd (35) during a break in the second half of the team's NCAA college basketball game against Illinois, Thursday, March 3, 2016, in College Park, Md. Maryland won 81-55. (AP Photo/Nick Wass)
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COLLEGE PARK, Md. (AP) Melo Trimble returned to form, the seniors excelled in their home finale and No. 14 Maryland played its best game in weeks.

“Just a feel-good night,” coach Mark Turgeon said after the Terrapins hammered Illinois 81-55 on Thursday. “It’s fun to have some like that every now and then.”

Trimble and Jake Layman scored 18 points each for the Terrapins, who never trailed. Maryland (24-6, 12-5 Big Ten) had lost three of four since climbing to No. 2 in the AP poll in early February.

Trimble made half of his 14 shots, collected eight rebounds and added five assists. The standout sophomore guard was 11 for 37 from the field over the previous four games, but in this one he turned it around.

“I really needed that. I just needed to see a shot go down, feel myself so happy again,” he said. “I haven’t been smiling the way I used to in a while. I just had to look in the mirror and see that I had an OK smile. I had to display it today on the court after I made a shot. I just felt good.”

Before the game, Maryland honored seniors Layman, Rasheed Sulaimon, Varun Ram and Trevor Anzmann. Layman made 7 of 11 shots; Sulaimon had nine assists and no turnovers; and Ram and Anzmann came from deep on the bench to team for a crowd-pleasing basket in the final minute.

Basically, everyone got into the act.

“We got rolling,” Layman said. “When we’re playing like that, sharing the ball, we’re very hard to guard.”

Jared Nickens and Robert Carter Jr. had 14 points apiece for the Terrapins, who earned a double-bye in the upcoming Big Ten Tournament.

“We feel like we can play with anybody,” Turgeon said.

The Terrapins finished 16-1 at home, the lone defeat against Wisconsin on Feb. 13.

Maverick Morgan reached career highs with 21 points and 10 rebounds for Illinois (13-17, 5-12). The junior center made 10 of his 13 field goal tries, but his teammates were a collective 12 for 44, including 5 for 20 from 3-point range.

Malcolm Hill, who came in averaging 18.2 points per game for the Illini, finished with 10 after making just one basket before halftime.

But it wasn’t so much Illinois’ lack of production as what Maryland did on the other end. The Terrapins made 18 of 27 shots over the final 20 minutes, including 10 of 13 from beyond the arc.

“Obviously what stands out is what they shot from the field in the second half,” Illinois coach John Groce said. “Not only from 2-point range, but obviously from 3. That was as good an offensive performance in a half that we’ve seen live and in person all year.”

Maryland led 33-25 early in the second half before Trimble, Layman and Nickens drilled successive 3-pointers to boost the margin to 17 points.

After Illinois closed to 45-34, Trimble scored six points in a 14-2 spree that put the Terrapins ahead by 23 with 8:33 remaining.

“We did some decent things,” Groce said. “Unfortunately, it came down to shot-making. And they just made a heck of a lot more in the second half.”

Morgan had 13 points and nine rebounds in the first half, but Illinois went 9 for 26 from the field and trailed 31-21.

Illinois missed its first seven shots and trailed 7-0 and 15-7 before whittling the deficit to 19-16. Maryland answered with a 12-3 run that included two baskets by Carter and 3-pointers by Nickens and Sulaimon.

TIP-INS

Illinois: The Illini will finish the regular season without consecutive wins in the Big Ten. … Illinois fell to 1-6 against Top 25 teams. … The Illini’s three-game winning streak against Maryland ended. They are 5-6 all-time against the Terps.

Maryland: Former Maryland football star Stefon Diggs (now with the Minnesota Vikings) was among the sellout crowd of 17,950. … Freshman center Diamond Stone played only 12 minutes because Turgeon often employed a small lineup.

UP NEXT

Illinois is at Penn State on Sunday.

Maryland is at No. 12 Indiana, the Big Ten champions, on Sunday.

Jok scores 23 to lead No. 5 Iowa past Illinois, 77-65

Iowa's Peter Jok (14) shoots over Michigan State's Denzel Valentine (45) during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game Thursday, Jan. 14, 2016, in East Lansing, Mich. (AP Photo/Al Goldis)
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CHAMPAIGN, Ill. (AP) Just over three minutes into the second half, Iowa’s Peter Jok stole the ball from Illinois guard Khalid Lewis and glided to the other end of the court for a two-handed dunk.

It was part of a 5-minute span after halftime in which the junior scored seven of the fifth-ranked Hawkeyes’ points, pushing their lead to 15 and delivering a blow the Illini wouldn’t recover from.

Jok finished with 23 points and Iowa (19-4, 10-1 Big Ten) coasted to a 77-65 victory.

Jok is playing with confidence, and doing that at both ends of the court, Hawkeyes coach Fran McCaffery said.

“I think you’re seeing a much more complete player,” McCaffery said. “You’re watching a guy who, when he was young, made some mistakes. And he’s not doing that anymore.”

Jok said Iowa, whose only serious tests Sunday came in the game’s opening minutes and the handful of times the Illini would later cut the lead to single digits, has grown up as a team.

“It’s because of our experience,” Jok said. “When teams are coming back, we don’t rush anything. We know what we have to do to win.”

The loss was the fifth in seven games for injury-plagued Illinois (11-13, 3-8).

“Defensively, what hurt us more than anything was their transition game and the rebounding,” Illini coach John Groce said.

Iowa outrebounded the Illini 43-32. Illinois has been outrebounded in 10 of its 11 conference games.

Jarrod Uthoff added 18 points and 12 rebounds for Iowa and Adam Woodbury had 10 points and 14 rebounds.

Jalen Coleman-Lands led Illinois with 17 points, going 5 of 11 from 3-point range.

Jok’s dominant spell to open the second half was the difference in a game that Illinois had been finding a way to stay in.

And his confidence was visibly high.

Just under 5 minutes into the second half, he fired a low-trajectory 3-point attempt that somehow touched nothing but net. Jok flashed a big grin as he jogged back on defense and the Hawkeyes were up 53-38.

When Jok wasn’t scoring, he was providing.

Moments later he missed a jumper and the ball bounced away from the rim with Illinois’ Malcolm Hill close behind it, scrambling for the rebound.

But Jok, laying on his back at the top of the key, found himself with the ball. Looking right, he saw Uthoff alone behind the 3-point line and fed him the ball.

Uthoff buried the shot and the Hawkeyes went up 56-38.

“That play in particular I think really crushed them,” Uthoff said. “It really took the air out of their sails.”

Iowa would push the lead to as many as 20 points midway through the half.

Iowa looked like the Big Ten title contender it is, and Illinois – which has settled into the back of the conference pack – did not.

“They’re good enough, they’ve got a chance to beat anybody,” Groce said of the Hawkeyes. “They look like they’ve played together a long time.”

Even when the Hawkeyes were off, it didn’t matter.

Illinois closed within 73-63 with 2:03 to play on a layup by Michael Finke. But the Illini could get no closer.

Hill finished with 14 points and eight rebounds.

REBOUNDING PAYOFF

Iowa’s rebounding edge led to 26 second-chance points. Illinois had just six. McCaffery gave most of the credit to Woodbury.

“Adam has really established himself as a premier rebounder in the country,” McCaffery said. “It makes such a difference to your defense when you only give them one shot.”

DOUBLE TROUBLE

Coming into Sunday’s game, Hill and Kendrick Nunn had both scored in double figures in every Illinois game they had played in this season, 23 for Hill and 17 for Nunn. That ended for Nunn who had six points in 26 minutes Sunday. Hill’s points were tough to get, coming against frequent double-teams that limited him to just nine shots.

TIP-INS

Iowa: The Hawkeyes were coming off a win over Penn State in which they gave up just one 3-pointer on 20 attempts. … Guard Mike Gesell finished with eight points, leaving him two short of 1,000 for his career.

Illinois: Finke returned to the lineup after missing the Rutgers game with a bruised knee he suffered against Wisconsin. He finished with five points and four rebounds. … Coming into Sunday’s game, three of Illinois’ past four games had gone to overtime, including Wednesday’s 110-101 triple-overtime win at Rutgers. In those three games, Hill averaged 43.7 minutes a game and Nunn 42.7.

UP NEXT

Iowa: Plays at No. 22 Indiana on Thursday.

Illinois: Plays at Northwestern on Saturday.