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Abrams leads Illinois past Indiana 64-54

Abrams leads Illinois past Indiana 64-54

Published: Thursday, March 13, 2014 2:22 p.m. CST
Caption
(AP Photo/Michael Conroy)
Illinois guard Tracy Abrams (13) looks to pass against Indiana's Evan Gordon durinng the first half of an NCAA college basketball game in the first round of the Big Ten Conference tournament Thursday, March 13, 2014, in Indianapolis.

INDIANAPOLIS — Tracy Abrams had 25 points to lead ninth-seeded Illinois to a 64-54 win over eight-seed Indiana on Thursday in the first round of the Big Ten Tournament.

The Illini (19-13) used runs of 9-0 in the first half and 11-0 in the second half to improve to 6-2 all-time against Indiana in the Big Ten Tournament.

The victory sends Illinois into a second-round matchup on Friday with Big Ten regular season champion No. 8 Michigan.

Abrams stymied a late rally by the Hoosiers (17-15) with a 3-pointer and two free throws that turned a late 53-52 Illinois lead into a 58-52 advantage.

Rayvonte Rice added 13 points and Kendrick Nunn scored 10 for the Illini.

Yogi Ferrell led the Hoosiers with 14 points. Will Sheehey added 13 points — 11 of them in the first half — and Troy Williams scored 11 for Indiana.

Illinois opened the game with a 9-0 run, taking advantage of Indiana's cold shooting and carelessness with the ball. The Hoosiers missed their first nine shots and had nine turnovers in the first half.

But Indiana answered with a 14-2 run, capped by a Ferrell 3-pointer, to take its first lead.

It didn't last long, with Noah Vonleh being called for goaltending on a basket by Rice which put the Illini back in front 15-14.

Illinois led 30-28 at halftime. Indiana was 6-of-10 on 3-pointers in the first half but just 2-of-13 inside the arc.

Troy Williams tied the game at 30 early in the second half on a dunk, then the Hoosiers took a 32-30 lead on two free throws by Stanford Robinson. Robinson, who was 0-for-2 from the line in the first half, was 4-of-4 in the second half.

The Hoosiers built a 38-33 lead to open the second half, but the Illini rallied to tie the game. Abrams missed two free throws that would have given Illinois the lead. But a second goaltending call on Vonleh, again on a Rice shot, put Illinois in front 40-38.

The Illini would stretch the lead to 44-38, prompting an Indiana timeout. Vonleh got free inside for a dunk, but the Hoosiers left Jon Ekey open for a 3-pointer that put the Illini in front 47-40.

Ferrell hit two free throws, Sheehey hit a jumper and Ferrell scored on a drive that pulled Indiana within 47-46.

Abrams answered with a 3 to make it 50-46 Illinois. Williams scored on a putback to make it 50-48, but Indiana could get no closer than 53-52.

Abrams then scored the next five points to secure the victory.

Illinois improved to 5-1 in first-round games in the Big Ten Tournament and won as the No. 9 seed for the first time. The Hoosiers fell to 10-17 in the conference tournament and fell to 1-2 as the No. 8 seed.

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