Long-range shooting carries Illini over Huskers

Send a link to a friend  Share

[February 27, 2017]  Illinois drilled eight 3-pointers in the second half to pull away for a 73-57 victory over Nebraska on Sunday night in a Big Ten game at Pinnacle Bank Arena in Lincoln, Neb.

Senior swingman Malcolm Hill scored 14 of his game-high 19 points after halftime to lead the Illini (17-12, 7-9 Big Ten) to their third win in a row. It is first time Illinois has won three consecutive conference games since a four-game run Jan. 31-Feb. 12, 2015.

Senior guard Tracy Abrams added 13 points and six assists as Illinois canned 13 of 26 3-point attempts for the night -- its highest 3-point total against a Division I opponent this season. Abrams buried 4 of 5 3-point tries while Hill hit 4 of 6 as the Illini resumed their climb up the RPI and KenPom rankings. They have moved into the top 60 in the RPI and Top 70 of the KenPom numbers.

Nebraska (12-16, 6-10) was paced by senior guard Tai Webster's 17 points, eight rebounds, five assists and four steals, but the Cornhuskers shot just 37.5 percent from the field and 26.7 percent on 3-point attempts.

Illinois built a 15-7 bulge as Nebraska missed 10 of 11 shots, but the Cornhuskers recovered to take a 22-21 lead on Webster's three-point play with 5:48 left in the half.

Illinois turned to a 2-3 zone to slow down the Cornhuskers and regained a 30-28 lead at the break as the visitors limited Nebraska to 33 percent shooting.

[to top of second column]

Illinois Fighting Illini center Malcolm Hill (22) gets past Nebraska Cornhuskers center Jordy Tshimanga (32) and forward Michael Jacobson (12) in the second half at Pinnacle Bank Arena. Illinois won 73-57. Mandatory Credit: Bruce Thorson-USA TODAY Sports

The Cornhuskers regained a brief lead at the outset of the second half, but then Illinois started raining 3-pointers from all over the floor. The Illini canned 7 of 8 3-point attempts over an 8:40 stretch -- Hill sinking three, Abrams making two and sophomores Jalen Coleman-Lands and Leron Black adding one apiece -- to transform a 32-32 tie into a 61-44 lead with 9:15 to play.

Nebraska got as close as 61-50 on sophomore forward Ed Morrow's dunk with 7:50 to go, but Abrams answered with Illinois' final 3-pointer of the night.

[ 2017 Thomson Reuters. All rights reserved.]

Copyright 2017 Reuters. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Back to top