No. 17 Illinois men’s basketball falters in second overtime, falls to No. 4 Purdue in instant classic

Trent+Frazier+shoots+a+jumper+during+the+first+half+of+the+game+between+Illinois+and+Purdue+at+State+Farm+Center+on+Monday+afternoon.

Photo Courtesy of Illinois Athletics

Trent Frazier shoots a jumper during the first half of the game between Illinois and Purdue at State Farm Center on Monday afternoon.

By Jackson Janes, Sports Editor

No. 17 Illinois battled for 50 minutes but couldn’t do enough to take down No. 4 Purdue at home, falling 96-88 in front of a loud, energetic State Farm Center crowd.

Andre Curbelo, somewhat unexpectedly, made his long-awaited return and scored a season-high 20 points in the loss, while Alfonso Plummer recorded a game-high 24 points.

Purdue opened the game fast via 7-foot-4 sophomore center Zach Edey, who made his big size and presence felt throughout the first half. Spinning away from Kofi Cockburn, Edey opened the scoring before jumpers from Boilermaker sophomore Jaden Ivey and senior Sasha Stefanovic gave the visitors an early 6-0 advantage.

Though the Illini offense got off to a slow start, Curbelo returned and instantly provided a spark. Helping kickstart a 7-2 run while also scoring a contested layup during that stretch, the crafty guard reduced what was once a seven-point Purdue advantage to just two.

Trailing by six once again, the Illini used a 10-0 run to take their first lead of the game. A trey and a midrange jumper from Trent Frazier, a Plummer triple and two Cockburn free throws gave Illinois a 24-20 advantage with seven minutes to play in the first half.

That hot stretch soon turned into a drought, though, as Purdue closed the half on a 17-2 run, while Illinois went the final 7:06 without a field goal as the Boilermakers headed into the break with a 37-26 lead. Edey led all scorers with 14 points, while Frazier and Cockburn each had eight for the Illini.

Despite losing by double digits, Illinois brought the energy out of halftime, with Plummer hitting a midrange jumper and his second 3-pointer and Da’Monte Williams notching his first points of the afternoon. The Illini went on an 8-2 run over just three minutes, cutting their deficit to five points.

Cockburn picked up his third and fourth fouls early in the second half, forcing Illinois’ big man to spend significant time on the bench.

After hitting just four triples in the first half, the Illini hit three within the first four minutes of the second period of play courtesy of Frazier, Da’Monte Williams and Jacob Grandison. The Illini cut their deficit to three points, their smallest in over eight minutes of action.

The Illini continued to battle, but the Boilermakers held onto the lead for the opening seven minutes of the second half. An 8-0 Illinois run via four points from Curbelo, a layup from Benjamin Bosmans-Verdonk and two Plummer free throws tied the game at 49 with 10:27 to play.

An 11-2 Purdue run over the next four minutes gave the visitors a nine-point lead, but a 7-2 Illinois stretch cut the host’s deficit to four with four minutes to play.

Down 67-60 with two minutes to play, the Illini used a 9-2 run, which included back-to-back Curbelo layups, to tie the game at 69 with 14 seconds to play, sending the game to overtime.

A fifth foul on Cockburn saw him exit the game early in the first overtime period with 10 points and five rebounds, snapping his nine-game double-double streak. 

After Ivey hit the two ensuing free throws, a Plummer triple gave the Illini their first lead since the first half.

The Boilermakers then used four straight points from Ivey – two free throws and a fast-break layup – to give the visitors their biggest lead of overtime, 75-72.

Two free throws from Bosmans-Verdonk, a jumper from Purdue senior forward Trevion Williams and a jumper from Curbelo saw the Illini trail by one with under a minute to play. 

After Stefanovic hit one of two free throws, a layup from Plummer tied the contest at 78 and sent the State Farm Center crowd into a frenzy as the game moved to a second overtime period.

Purdue came out flying, with Stefanovic scoring his team’s first five points of the frame, though a Frazier jumper kept it a one-score game with three minutes to play.

A layup by senior guard Eric Hunter Jr. opened a five-point advantage for the Boilermakers before a Plummer triple, his sixth of the game, cut the Illini deficit to two.

A 6-0 Purdue run over the next 60 seconds sealed the road win for the Boilermakers, snapping the Illini’s six-game winning streak.

 

@JacksonJanes3

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