Hill moves into third on all-time scoring list in NIT win

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Austin Yattoni

Illinois’ Malcolm Hill (21) celebrates after knocking down a three-point shot against Valparaiso at State Farm Center on Tuesday, March 13.

By Lucas Wright , Staff writer

Move over Dee Brown — Malcolm Hill has cemented his place in Illinois history.

On a night featuring a 71-56 Illinois men’s basketball NIT win over Boise State, Hill dropped 13 points, moving him into sole possession of third place in the program’s all-time scoring list. The senior now has 1,817 career points.

Hill passed Brown on the list by hitting a deep three-pointer from the right wing on a dribble hand-off from Leron Black, which helped stretch the Illinois lead to seven in the second half.

The Illini had to fight to advance to the round of eight in the NIT.

Illinois opened the first half with a balanced attack, but the team could not build and hold a lead against Boise State. The Illini led through the majority of the first 15 minutes but traded baskets as the Broncos kept it close.

The Illini jumped out to an eight-point lead with just minutes to go in the half but could not hold it heading to halftime. Nick Duncan poured in three three-pointers to end the half for the Broncos, giving them a 34-33 lead.

Struggling to find momentum, Illinois gathered itself after a Boise State 12-0 run stretching across the first and second halves. The Illini fought back to take the lead within the first five minutes of the second half.

The two teams combined to score just over 20 points heading into the under-12 TV timeout, but a quick spurt highlighted by a Leron Black dunk and a Tracy Abrams and-one gave Illinois a four-point lead heading into the final nine minutes.

The Illini continued to make a run through the middle of the second half, which featured Hill’s record-breaking bucket. The run stretched to 18-4 leading into the final TV-timeout of the game, capped off by an Abrams three, which put the lead to 12.

The Illini stopped some late Broncos momentum when Hill chased down Chandler Hutchinson and blocked him from behind, keeping the lead at double-digits.

Overshadowed by Hill’s performance was Abrams who finished with 18 points to lead the way for Illinois. Black added 12 points and 10 rebounds, while freshman Te’Jon Lucas recorded seven points, seven assists and six rebounds.

The win moved the Illini into a quarterfinal matchup with the Central Florida, who knocked off Illinois State in an upset on the Redbirds’ home court.

Although Illinois is the higher seed, the matchup will take place Wednesday at UCF due to a scheduling conflict in Champaign.

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