The independent student newspaper at the University of Illinois since 1871

The Daily Illini

The independent student newspaper at the University of Illinois since 1871

The Daily Illini

The independent student newspaper at the University of Illinois since 1871

The Daily Illini

The independent student newspaper at the University of Illinois since 1871

The Daily Illini

No. 12 Illinois men’s basketball suffers late collapse at Penn State

Fifth-year+Terrence+Shannon+Jr.+directs+the+Illini+offense+against+Michigan+on+Feb.+13.+Shannon+led+Illinois+with+35+points+in+its+loss+to+Penn+State.
Angel Saldivar
Fifth-year Terrence Shannon Jr. directs the Illini offense against Michigan on Feb. 13. Shannon led Illinois with 35 points in its loss to Penn State.

No. 12 Illinois men’s basketball was unable to break its losing streak to Penn State on Wednesday night, and a disastrous close to the game saw it on the wrong side of a 90-89 scoreline. The Illini are now 19-7 overall and 10-5 in the Big Ten Conference.

There were no surprises for Illinois’ starting five, as fifth-year guard Terrence Shannon Jr., sophomore guard Ty Rodgers, senior forward Coleman Hawkins and graduate student forwards Marcus Domask and Quincy Guerrier.

Despite winning the opening tipoff, it was a rough start for the visiting Illini as the Nittany Lions got going on a 9-2 run. To the Rec Hall’s delight, Penn State enjoyed an uber-efficient start shooting from the field, scoring its first five attempts as Illinois struggled to recover.

The Nittany Lions were able to maintain their healthy lead over the Illini during the vast majority of the first half. However, entering the final five minutes, the momentum began to shift with the Illini beginning to pick up steam. Led by Shannon and Domask, the visitors were able to battle their way back into the contest after putting together multiple extended scoring runs.

Illinois claimed its first lead of the night at the 4:15 mark after a fastbreak drive to the basket was finished off by Shannon. The Illini took advantage of the muted home crowd and continued to chug away offensively, digging the Nittany Lions into an ever-growing deficit on the floor.

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Heading into the halftime break, Illinois, who found itself down by as much as nine at one point, led Penn State 48-41.

The start of the second half essentially saw a near-flipped version of the first, with the Illini now in control of the game with a double-digit advantage for much of the period. A Shannon dunk lifted the visitors to a 14-point lead with 15:59 remaining in the game, with the Chicago native going head-to-head with the Nittany Lions on nearly every possession. The guard finished with a career-high 35 points in University Park.

However, the good times didn’t last for Illinois as Penn State’s Zach Hicks began to heat up in the final minutes of the contest. The forward knocked down big shots, critically from beyond the arc, to help the Nittany Lions claw their way back within single digits.

The Illini were unable to put a halt to the newfound momentum and with three seconds left on the clock, Hicks was sent to the line for a chance to seal the contest as a win for the Nittany Lions. The forward did not miss any of his three attempts, and a now 8-0 scoring run for Penn State saw it win the game 90-89 at the final buzzer.

The loss will go down as the fourth straight defeat against the Nittany Lions for the Illini.

Illinois will be back in action on Saturday, returning to Champaign for a showdown with Iowa. The game will tip off at 1:15 p.m. CT as the Illini hunt for their 20th victory of the 2023-24 season.

 

@james_kim15

[email protected]

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About the Contributors
James Kim, Sports Editor
My name is James Kim and I’m a senior studying English with a minor in business. This is my third year with The Daily Illini and it’s been an amazing ride so far. When I joined in fall 2021, I began as a staff writer for the sports section where I covered women’s tennis. In spring 2022, I became an assistant sports editor and started covering soccer and Illinois men’s basketball. From spring 2023 onwards I’ve been working as the sports editor! In addition to being an Illini and Real Madrid fanatic, I also love watching movies and TV shows. If you have any questions about writing for The DI, you can reach me at my email below. I-L-L!
Angel Saldivar, Assistant Photo Editor
Hey there, you might recognize me as the photographer who's often at community events in Champaign-Urbana with a camera in hand. I'm currently finishing my Journalism degree at the University of Illinois. Since my first year in 2020, I have been capturing moments for the Illini Media Company, and I've recently become the Assistant Photo Editor. Filmmaking is another passion of mine – shoutout to my film club Illini Film and Video! Keep an eye out, as you could see me filming the next big hit on campus. When I am not using the camera, I am usually playing the drums. Should you have any inquiries, please don't hesitate to send me an email!
ILLordle: Play now