Holmes erupts for 30 as No. 6 Hoosiers beat Illini 83-72

Wisconsin v Indiana
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CHAMPAIGN, Ill. – Mackenzie Holmes scored 30 points and grabbed 10 rebounds and Grace Berger added 18 points to lead No. 6 Indiana to an 83-72 win over No. 21 Illinois on Wednesday.

Holmes hit six of seven shots and scored 14 points in the third quarter as the Hoosiers (17-1, 7-1 Big Ten) shot 68.4% for the period after trailing the Illini (15-4, 5-3) for most of the first half.

“Whether I’m getting hot or whether I miss a few shots (my team) is always looking for me,” Holmes said.

Kendall Bostic scored 10 points during a 13-4 Illinois run that whittled the Indiana lead to seven points before Holmes hit a layup and made a free throw to give the Hoosiers some space with 4:05 left.

Holmes finished 12 of 20 from the floor and recorded her eighth double-double of the season.

“I love watching (Holmes) play,” Bostic said. “I don’t really like playing against her.”

Yarden Garzon added 13 points and Chloe Moore-McNeil pitched in with 12 points and six assists for the Hoosiers.

Genesis Bryant led Illinois with 18 points and Bostic followed with 17 points and 11 rebounds.

Illinois took a 19-10 lead late in the first quarter on Brynn Shoup-Hill’s layup before Garzon and Sydney Parrish hit a pair of 3s during an 8-0 run out of a timeout to pull the Hoosiers within three.

“We responded in the right kind of way,” Indiana coach Teri Moren said. “We didn’t blink, we didn’t panic, we didn’t take bad shots in that stretch.”

Holmes tied the game at 26 with a layup midway through the second quarter as the Illini endured a 5:20 stretch without a bucket. Berger scored six points during a 16-5 to help the Hoosiers take a 37-31 break into halftime.

“If there’s probably any area that (Holmes) has grown the most, it’s been mentally, with understanding she has a responsibility to this team to show up every night,” Moren said.

HOOSIER HISTORY

Moren notched her 189th career win at Indiana to pass Jim Izard for the most in program history.

“She hates to lose way more than she loves to win and I think that’s evident with her passion, on and off the court, for the game (and) for us,” Holmes said. “It’s a really special thing that I’m able to play for her while she gets this milestone.”

BUILDING STEAM

Illinois coach Shauna Green saluted the State Farm Center crowd of 5,583 for creating a rowdy atmosphere and reflected on where the Illini are at two months into her first season.

“(The players) deserve to play in front of this crowd,” Green said. “They deserve to play in that environment.”

BIG PICTURE

Indiana: The Hoosiers opened a stretch of seven of 11 games against ranked foes in convincing fashion after weathering an early storm on the road. The margin for error slims further with matchups against Michigan and first-place Ohio State looming.

Illinois: Green has quickly elevated the Illini in her first season after bringing Makira Cook and her Dayton assistants to Champaign. Illinois is in position to make its first postseason appearance since an NIT berth in 2013 and could make its first NCAA Tournament since 2003.

UP NEXT

Indiana: Visits No. 14 Michigan on Monday.

Illinois: At Northwestern on Sunday.

Illinois wins 4th straight, 78-60 over Minnesota

Penn State v Illinois
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MINNEAPOLIS – Matthew Mayer had 19 points and 10 rebounds and Illinois used a big second half to beat Minnesota 78-60 on Monday night for its fourth straight victory.

Illinois pulled away in the opening five minutes of the second half with a 12-0 run to build a 47-36 lead. The Illini extended it to 55-41 after nine minutes as Minnesota made just 3 of 13 shots to start the half.

Illinois dominated the paint with a 54-28 edge in points and 50-29 in rebounds. The Illini held Minnesota to 36% shooting, including 3 of 13 from 3-point range. The Gophers were also 15 of 25 at the free-throw line.

Illinois has won five consecutive games in the series – and three straight at Minnesota.

Dain Dainja and Terrence Shannon Jr. each added 11 points for Illinois (13-5, 4-3 Big Ten), which hosts Indiana on Thursday. Freshman Jayden Epps scored 10 points and Mayer, a super senior, recorded his first career double-double.

Mayer made an open 3-pointer from the corner in the closing seconds of the first half to give Illinois a 35-32 lead. Minnesota is now 0-8 this season when trailing at halftime.

Dawson Garcia had 17 points and Ta’lon Cooper scored 16 points for Minnesota (7-9, 1-5), which is back in action on Thursday against No. 3 Purdue.

Brown scores 31, Missouri upsets No. 16 Illinois 93-71

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ST. LOUIS – Kobe Brown set career highs with 31 points and eight assists, and D’Moi Hodge added 20 points to lead Missouri to a 93-71 upset of No. 16 Illinois in their annual neutral site contest Thursday night.

Brown’s 31 points were the most in school history against Illinois.

Terrence Shannon Jr scored 21 points and Matthew Mayer added 16, but Illinois (8-4) has dropped two of three contests since upsetting then-No. 2 Texas on Dec. 6 at Madison Square Garden in New York.

DeAndre Gholston added 15 points and Ronnie DeGray III scored 10 for Missouri (11-1), which scored 32 points off 16 Illinois turnovers while the Illini managed 10 points off 10 Tigers turnovers.

Missouri scored the first six points. Illinois recovered to take a 12-10 lead, but that was the last lead of the night for the Illini.

Missouri then outscored Illinois 41-15 for the remainder of the first half, including 15-0 and 10-0 runs.

Missouri opened up its largest lead of the night when Hodge hit a layup to put the Tigers up 76-41 with 12:14 remaining in the second half.

PACKED HOUSE

The announced attendance of 18,452 is the first sellout in this matchup in St. Louis since 2017. The teams faced each other in Columbia, Missouri in 2020 without fans in attendance due to COVID-19.

BIG PICTURE

Illinois: The Illini continue to struggle to find offense, with the returning players on Brad Underwood’s squad accounting for just 13.9% of Illinois’ scoring last season.

Missouri: The Tigers finished non-conference play with an 11-1 record under first-year coach Dennis Gates, with their only loss coming to No. 4 Kansas on Dec. 10.

UP NEXT

Illinois: Hosts Bethune-Cookman next Thursday in its last non-conference game before resuming Big Ten play.

Missouri: Hosts No. 19 Kentucky on Wednesday to open SEC play.

No. 17 Illinois rallies late, beats No. 2 Texas 85-78 in OT

Illinois v Maryland
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NEW YORK – Terrence Shannon Jr. scored 12 of his 16 points in overtime, including the tiebreaking 3-pointer with 3:34 remaining, and No. 17 Illinois rallied to hand second-ranked Texas its first loss of the season, 85-78 on Tuesday night in the Jimmy V Classic.

Jayden Epps added 11 points, including the final five points of regulation – a 3-pointer with 35 seconds left and two tying free throws with 8 seconds remaining. Epps then blocked Marcus Carr’s jumper in the lane just before the buzzer to force overtime in an entertaining showdown at Madison Square Garden.

Matthew Mayer, who faced Texas several times at Baylor, tied a career high with 21 points as he made his first seven shots and finished 8 of 10.

Shannon, who missed eight of nine shots in regulation, took over in the extra period to help Illinois (7-2) beat a ranked foe for the second time this season. He opened overtime with a jumper after Marcus Carr was called for traveling and then hit an open 3 from the right wing over Brock Cunningham for a 73-70 lead.

Shannon then converted a reverse layup and finished off a three-point play to make it 77-70 with 2:16 left. Carr hit two free throws to get Texas within one with 1:28 remaining. Jayden Epps hit a layup, RJ Melendez sank two free throws to put Illinois ahead by five, and Shannon made two free throws with 27.7 seconds left.

Timmy Allen scored a season-high 21 points for Texas (6-1), which failed to open 7-0 for the first time since 2014-15. Tyrese Hunter added 10 points but Carr was held to nine points on 3-of-14 shooting as Texas had 12 shots blocked and shot 42%.

Texas took its only double-digit lead when Dillon Mitchell hit a layup with 8:28 left. Illinois cut the lead to 58-56 on a 3 by Melendez nearly four minutes later. After Cunningham hit an open 3 with 4:15 remaining, Si’Jabari Rice made a 3 for a 64-58 lead.

Allen found Cunningham for an open jumper that counted when officials called goaltending on Illinois’ Coleman Hawkins. That gave Texas a 65-61 lead with with 1:51 remaining.

Carr’s rainbow jumper in the lane made it 68-63 with a minute left and Illinois had a 3-pointer by Melendez waved off because it called timeout with 45.3 seconds left. After the timeout, Epps made an open corner 3 with 33 seconds remaining.

Hunter missed the front end of a 1-and-1 to set up Epps’ tying free throws.

BIG PICTURE

Illinois: The Illini continued to struggle with turnovers, committing 17. But only two of them came in the final 10-plus minutes of regulation or overtime. Illinois’ 15th turnover was an offensive foul by Mayer, which sent him to the bench with four fouls with 10:42 remaining.

Texas: The Longhorns had little offense beyond Allen and Hunter. While the duo was a combined 13 of 29, the rest of the team missed 24 of 40 shots.

UP NEXT

Illinois hosts Penn State in its second Big Ten game on Saturday. The Illini lost their conference opener to No. 13 Maryland.

Texas hosts Arkansas-Pine Bluff in the Jimmy Blacklock Classic on Saturday.

Former Illinois star Dee Brown to coach at NAIA’s Roosevelt

Michigan State v Illinois
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CHICAGO – Former Illinois star and NBA player Dee Brown is the new coach at Roosevelt University in Chicago, the NAIA school announced Monday.

The 37-year-old was a McDonald’s All-American and Illinois Mr. Basketball when he played for Proviso East near Chicago in Maywood.

He went on to lead Illinois to Big Ten regular-season titles in 2004 and 2005 and a run to the 2005 NCAA championship game, where Illinois lost to North Carolina.

Brown played professionally for nine seasons, including two NBA seasons for Utah, Washington and Phoenix.

Brown has been an assistant at the University of Illinois Chicago since 2017. He also worked as director of player development and alumni relations for the Illinois men’s basketball team under former coach John Groce and coached AAU ball.

Moore scores 21, Houston hammers Illinois to make Sweet 16

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PITTSBURGH — Once back in their locker room, Houston’s players emptied their water bottles on coach Kelvin Sampson, who peeled off his shirt for the celebratory dousing.

A sweet soaking indeed.

Taze Moore scored 21 points and Jamal Shead added 18 as the Cougars, a Final Four team last season, advanced in the South Region of the NCAA Tournament with a 68-53 win over Illinois, ousted in the opening weekend for the second straight year.

The fifth-seeded Cougars (31-5) are making another serious run at a national title despite losing their two best players to season-ending injuries. Now, with a trio of transfers and a defense with some serious teeth, they’re headed home to Texas for the next round – in San Antonio, against either Arizona or TCU.

“It’s our heart,” Shead said when asked about this team’s toughness. “We don’t want to lose. We want to win for each other. We love each other so much, these guys are like my brothers, you know, it goes way beyond basketball.

“We want to keep it going as long as we possibly can.”

Kyler Edwards added 15 points for Houston, a team often overlooked but making major noise again this March.

With Houston’s fans chanting “Sweet 16, Sweet 16” in the closing seconds, Edwards dropped one last 3-pointer from the corner and seconds later lifted Moore, another of Houston’s transfers, off the floor.

The Cougars faced major adversity in December when guards Marcus Sasser and Tramon Mark, two of the holdovers from last year’s talented squad, were lost to injuries. But instead of folding, Houston’s players formed an even tighter bond.

“We got a brand-new bunch,” Sampson said, dried off and fully dressed. “But the culture never changes. Because they’re great kids and they’re high-character kids, they buy in. It’s never about them. Our program is always about we and us, and that’s what happens when you have great kids.”

For Illinois, it’s another year of deep disappointment. The fourth-seeded Fighting Illini (23-10) were determined to go farther after being bumped by Loyola Chicago last year, but couldn’t get past the second round again.

All-American center Kofi Cockburn did his part, scoring 19 in 38 minutes to lead Illinois. The big man spurned the NBA last year for a shot at some tournament redemption, only to come up short in what was likely his last college game.

“It hurts really bad, especially for the guys that’s leaving,” Cockburn said. “We always want to leave with with a good feeling, you know? We fell short. Can’t really put it into words.”

Illinois coach Brad Underwood credited Houston’s defense, but didn’t have an answer for his team’s poor shooting (6 of 25 on 3s) or turnovers (17). He got a nice lift from freshmen Luke Goode and RJ Melendez, but not enough from his other regulars.

“We didn’t play very well. We didn’t shoot it very well,” Underwood said. “We played well enough; we didn’t shoot it very well. You look at our two games here, and we just shot it terrible.

“We got great shots, we just couldn’t make them.”

Down by 12 in the first half, Illinois battled back and was within 56-49 after Alfonso Plummer’s four-point play.

But after Shead hit a floater, Houston’s Fabian White Jr. made the play of the game by racing into the backcourt and swatting the ball before it went out of bounds with his left hand to Moore for a layup.

“Culture play, that’s what we call it,” Sampson said. “Those are culture plays. Whenever we watch film, we do edits. We always end our film sessions with culture plays. Everybody wants to be on the edit.

“There were three guys involved in that play. Somebody made a great effort play on the baseline, Fabian made a great effort play, and next thing you know, Taze is getting a layup.”

TECHNICALLY SPEAKING

As Illinois was fighting back, Melendez was called for a questionable technical foul by referee Brian O’Connell for hanging on the rim after a dunk.

The bucket brought the Illini within four in the final 10 minutes, but the call seemed to have a negative effect.

Melendez said he didn’t get an explanation.

Underwood was both puzzled and perturbed by the call

“I can’t wait to see it,” Underwood said. “He (O’Connell) told me he shouldn’t ever have called it, but in the moment he calls it. Maybe it’s personal, I don’t know. When a kid has a full head of steam going 100 miles an hour, and we all talk about safety and well-being of student-athletes, come on.

“And then to kill momentum like that? Horrible.”