Illini Close Strong, Earn Spot in Elite Eight With Gritty Win Over Iowa State - University of Illinois Athletics (2024)

BOSTON – Elite. Never trailing in the contest, third-seeded Illinois battled to a 72-69 win over No. 2 seed Iowa State in the Sweet 16 on Thursday night at TD Garden to secure a spot in the Elite Eightfor the first time since 2005.

Six different Illini grabbed at least five rebounds, while the Orange and Blue made five of their final seven field-goal attempts to earn a berth in the next round.

Terrence Shannon Jr. tallied a game-high 29 points, his seventh consecutive 20-point game. Making four 3-pointers, Shannon accounted for the Illini's final six points of the night despite being in foul trouble for a majority of the second half. He also totaled five rebounds, a team-high three steals, and two assists.

Shooting 50% from the field, Coleman Hawkins tallied 12 points, half of which came on his two 3-pointers. He grabbed six rebounds, and he made two steals.

Marcus Domask amassed seven points and hauled in six rebounds while going 3-for-3 from the stripe. He also dished out five assists, his fifth straight game with at least five helpers.

Luke Goode added eight points, including two 3-pointers and two key free throws with under two minutes to play. Both of his rebounds came on the offensive glass, and he tacked on one steal.

Dain Dainja recorded seven points and snagged three of his six boards on the offensive end of the floor. He also forced two steals.

Quincy Guerrier notched five points and five rebounds, while Ty Rodgers accumulated four points and six boards.

The Illini came out of the gates on an 8-0 run, a stretch that included 3-pointers from Shannon and Guerrier and a vicious flush from Hawkins. The Cyclones got on the board after being held scoreless for the first three-and-a-half minutes of play before Shannon made his second trey of the day to move the Illini advantage to 11-2 through the opening four minutes.

A 5-0 Iowa State run cut Illinois' advantage down to five points before Shannon's third triple and a Rodgers dunk pushed the Illini's edge into double digits, 16-6. The Cyclones went without a point for over five minutes during that Illini run, though Iowa State reduced its deficit to four with about nine minutes remaining in the first half.

Illinois quickly responded with a 10-1 scoring run, which featured a Hawkins triple and five points from Shannon, to push its edge up to 13 points. The two sides traded baskets the rest of the half, and the Orange and Blue went into the break with a 36-26 advantage.

Shannon's 16 points were a team-best mark at the intermission, while the Illini rattled in five 3-pointers during the opening 20 minutes of play. The Orange and Blue also assisted on nine of their 12 first-half field goals, while four players had multiple helpers before halftime.

The Cyclones began the second half with a 6-0 run, cutting the Illini deficit down to four points within the first two minutes of the frame. Shannon and Hawkins combined for a 5-2 run over the next 90 seconds, which brought the Orange and Blue's edge back up to seven.

Two minutes later, with Illinois' advantage back down to four points, a Hawkins transition dunk and a Goode 3-pointer fueled a 5-0 Illini run, moving the Orange and Blue's lead up to 46-37 with just over 13 minutes remaining in the contest.

Shannon reached the 20-point mark less than one minute later before Dain Dainja accounted for the team's next five points. Iowa State cut its deficit to two points with a 6-0 run before Dainja's layup doubled the Illini's advantage, 53-49, with nine minutes to go.

Illinois' edge was soon reduced back to two before the Illini ended a three-minute scoring drought via Domask, whose up-and-under layup fell through the net while he was fouled. The 3-point play extended the Orange and Blue's edge up to 56-51 with five-and-a-half minutes left to play.

Shannon, who sat for nearly six minutes after picking up his fourth foul, returned with 5:38 remaining in the second half. After Iowa State made a triple, Shannon responded with a 3-point make from the corner, his fourth3-pointerof the contest. Goode then splashed in his second make from downtown to swing the contest to 62-56 in the Illini's favor with four minutes to go.

Dainja's dunk two minutes later helped the Illini maintain a six-point advantage before a 4-1 run for the Cyclones cut that lead in half with under a minute to play.

A free throw from Shannon added to that Orange and Blue edge before the Illini fifth-year guard recorded a steal and fast-break dunk, which allowed Illinois to retake a six-point edge, 70-64. Two more free throws from Shannon secured the victory and clinched a spot for the Fighting Illini in the Elite Eight.

[3] Illinois will remain in Boston and take on reigning champion [1] Connecticut at TD Gardenon Saturday evening, with tipoff slated for 5:09 p.m. CT on TBS.

HIGHLIGHTS

PRESS CONFERENCE

POSTGAME NOTES

Player Notes

  • Terrence Shannon Jr. scored a game-high 29 points and had five rebounds and two assists.
    • Was just two points shy of matching the program record for most points in an NCAA Tournament game.
    • Has recorded three straight NCAA Tournament games with 20+ points, matching the Illinois record of three consecutive 20+-point games accomplished by Don Sunderlage (1951), Nick Anderson (1989), and Luther Head (2005).
      • Shannon has scored 20+ in all four of his NCAA Tournament games as an Illini, including 20 points in Round 1 last year vs. Arkansas.
    • Recorded his seventh straight 20-point game.
      • 41 straight games in double-figures scoring.
    • Led all scorers with 16 points in the first half.
      • Went 6-for-14 from the floor, knocking down three 3-pointers.
    • Made four 3-pointers in the contest, his seventh straight game with multiple 3-pointers.
      • Two shy from matching the most in an NCAA Tournament game in program history.
  • Marcus Domask scored seven points andhad six rebounds and fiveassists.
    • Has grabbed at least six rebounds in four of his last five games.
    • Has at least five assists in each of his last five games.
  • Quincy Guerrier scored five points and secured five rebounds.
  • Ty Rodgers scored four points, talliedsix rebounds and three assists.
    • All are NCAA Tournament highs for the Illini sophom*ore.
  • Coleman Hawkins scored 12 points, secured six rebounds and dished out three assists.
    • Has scored in double figures in all three NCAA Tournament games.
    • Finished with two 3-pointers, his 18th game with multiple makes from beyond the arc and his third consecutive contest with 2+ triples.
  • Luke Goode came off the bench to score eight points and grab two rebounds.
    • Has hit at least one 3-pointer in all three NCAA Tournament games, including multiple makes from deep in two of three games.
  • Dain Dainja scored seven points and had six rebounds off the bench.
    • Set the Illinois program record for consecutive field goals made at 20, breaking Derek Harper's record of 19 set in 1983.

Team Notes

  • The Illini have advanced to the Elite Eightof the NCAA tournament for the first time since 2005 and for the fifth time overall in program history since the tournament expanded to 32 teams in 1975.
  • Illinois improves to 29-8 on the season, the third-most wins in program history and the most in 19 years, since the 2004-05 team went 37-2 and advanced to the NCAA Tournament championship game.
    • 1. 2005 – 37 wins
    • 2. 1989 – 31 wins
    • 3. 2024 – 29 wins
    • 4. 2001 – 27 wins
  • Illinois is now 45-34 all-time in NCAA Tournament games.
  • The Illini hold an all-time record of 6-3 as a #3 seed, including wins over #14 Morehead State and #11 Duquesne in the first and second rounds, respectively, this season. The Illini's sixth win came against Iowa State on Thursday.
  • Illinois is a combined 2-8 against top-2 seeds in the NCAA Tournament.
    • The Illini moved to 2-3 all-time against the No. 2 seed in the NCAA Tournament.
  • The Illini are 8-4 all-time in the NCAA Round of 16 since the field was expanded to 16 teams in 1951.
  • Illinois now moves to 3-11 as the lower seed in the NCAA Tournament in program history.
  • The Illini led for 39:11 in the game and did not trail at any point during the contest.
  • Illinois assisted on 16 of its 24 field goals.
    • The Illini assisted on their first seven field goals of the game.
  • The Illini held a 17-9 advantage in fast break points.
  • Illinois held a 41-37 advantage in rebounding, including a 12-8 edge on the offensive glass.
    • Converted those 12 o-boards into eight second-chance points.

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Illini Close Strong, Earn Spot in Elite Eight With Gritty Win Over Iowa State - University of Illinois Athletics (2024)

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