Long-range shooting carries Illini over Huskers
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[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
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,
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]
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.
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