The Fighting Illini men’s basketball team beat Indiana 67-66 Sunday at State Farm Center in Champaign.
Ayo Dosunmu converted a pair of free-throws with 4.5 seconds remaining to give his team a four-point lead — and they needed it. Indiana’s Rob Phinisee sank a three-pointer as the clock expired to provide the final margin.
Dosunmu has assumed the unofficial title of team closer at the end of games, and he accepts the role.
“When the moment comes, I’m just confident that I work on the shots a lot, and I put the work in,” Dosunmu said.
Illinois players Ayo Dosunmu, Andres Feliz, and Kofi Cockburn discuss a 67-66 win over Indiana.
Just before Dosunmu’s free throws, Indiana was in position for a game-winning shot when — with about 8 seconds remaining — Andres Feliz leapt to steal the ball from Phinisee, then rolled his upper body away from Phinisee to prevent a held-ball situation. Trent Frazier ran toward referee Terry Ogelsby, who was closely monitoring the play. Frazier both screamed and signaled for a time-out, which Oglesby granted.
“One of the most critical times, and Andres Feliz dives on the floor,” Underwood said. “To save a ballgame, to save a possession, take it away. Those are the little things that allow you to win.”
Illinois coach Brad Underwood answers questions about his team’s 67-66 win over Indiana.
Dosunmu led all-scorers with 17 points. Feliz and Kofi Cockburn each tallied 15 for the Illini. Feliz added a game-high four assists and Cockburn a career-high six blocked shots.
The Hoosiers hit half of their three-pointers, but attempted only sixteen. Their overall field-goal conversion rate was just 41-percent. The Illini weren’t much better at 44-percent, but the Illini got to the free throw line twice as much as the Hoosiers, and converted 17-of-24 attempts. Indiana was 10-of-12 from the charity stripe.
Indiana won the rebound battle 39-31. The Hoosiers turned the ball over just ten times, and Illinois only 7.
Indiana coach Archie Miller discusses a 67-66 loss to Illinois.
The Hoosiers are now 8-10 in the Big Ten and 18-11 overall, and are still expected to receive a bid to the NCAA Tournament according to BracketMatrix.com, which compiles tournament field predictions from major analysts.
Illinois is in contention for a conference championship. The Illini are in a three-way tie for second place at 12-6 in the Big Ten, just one game behind league-leading Maryland. That will make the Terrapins’ Tuesday night game at Rutgers especially interesting to Illini fans.
The Illini next play Thursday, at Ohio State. Both games tip at 6 pm CT.
Rob McColley covers University of Illinois sports for Illinois Newsroom and WILL.