Locked in a tie with 7:30 to play, No. 25 Illinois reeled off 16 points in a row and ran away to a 64-53 nonconference victory over visiting Oakland on Friday night in Champaign.
Oregon grad transfer Quincy Guerrier delivered 13 points and 10 rebounds and locked up Oaklan’s leading returning scorer Trey Townsend down the stretch to guide Illinois (2-0) in a game with 11 lead changes.
Terrence Shannon Jr. notched a team-high 15 points while Dain Dainja and Ty Rodgers added 10 points apiece for the Illini, who won despite shooting 25 percent on 3-pointers and 50 percent at the line.
Townsend led Oakland (0-2) with 19 points and 10 rebounds, but the Golden Grizzlies went scoreless for 6:46 late as their chances for their first win in four tries against Illinois went awry.
“We guarded our tail off,” said Illinois coach Brad Underwood. “We clamped ’em down. Defensively, we were really good. Offensively, we just happened to be good enough.”
Oakland raced to an 8-0 lead in the opening 85 seconds and forced Illinois to burn a timeout. Townsend opened with a baseline jumper, then Jack Gohlke and Blake Lampman flushed 3-pointers.
Illinois didn’t eclipse the 8-point mark until 11:45 was left in the first half when Dainja posted for a layup that cut Oakland’s lead to 14-9. The Illini didn’t forge their first tie until Shannon drove into the lane and fed Guerrier for a two-handed slam that made it 15-15 with 9:52 left in the half.
While Oakland went into a 1-for-10 funk from the field, Illinois finally claimed its first lead when Shannon canned two free throws for a 17-15 edge at the 7:48 mark.
Illinois maintained a 28-27 edge at halftime despite shooting 0 of 6 from 3-point range and 4 of 10 at the free-throw line. Dainja came off the bench to produce eight of the Illini’s 24 points in the paint.
Illinois finally cashed its first 3-pointer when Guerrier rattled home an open look to give the hosts their biggest lead at 35-29 with 17:54 to play. But backup big man Chris Conway responded with six straight points in 66 seconds — the last two on a breakaway dunk — to pull the Golden Grizzlies even.
The teams swapped the lead six times before Gohlke swished a 3-pointer to pull Oakland into a 48-48 knot with 7:32 to play. Illinois responded by recording the game’s next 16 points — starting with a Shannon 3-pointer — to build its biggest lead as Oakland didn’t score again until there was 46 seconds left.
–Field Level Media
Joel Embiid recorded the sixth triple-double of his NBA career with 30 points, 11 rebounds and 11 assists to help the Philadelphia 76ers earn a 138-94 win against the visiting…
Reggie Jackson had season highs of 35 points and 13 assists, DeAndre Jordan added season bests of 21 points and 13 rebounds and the duo used familiar surroundings to power…
Gabe Madsen and Rollie Worster each scored 17 points Monday night and Utah pulled away from struggling Saint Mary’s in the second half to post a 78-71 nonconference win in…
Short-handed Nuggets overtake Clippers in 4th quarter
Utah pulls away from struggling St. Mary’s for road win
Myles Rice’s career night leads WSU past EWU
Washington eager to keep fighting, faces UC San Diego