NEW YORK – No. 2 ranked Texas seemed to have all the answers on how to contain Illinois standout Terrance Shannon Jr. for 40 minutes.
That only left Matthew Mayer to make his mark until Shannon got going. And in the end, it was enough as the Fighting Illini overcame a double-digit lead in the second half on the way to an 85-78 overtime win over the Longhorns on Dec. 6 in the Jimmy V Classic at Madison Square Garden.
Shannon single-handedly outscored Texas in overtime by pouring in 12 points to spark Illinois to the upset. Jayden Epps and RJ Melendez combined to chip in with five points as the Illini used a 17-10 spurt in the extra session to secure the win.
“It was a really good college basketball game and I am really excited about our group,” said Illinois coach Brad Underwood, whose team improved to 7-2 on the season with the win. “There are surprises every night … I don’t know who is going to do it, who it will be coming from, what it will look like. And we had a Matthew Mayer sighting, which was very nice to see.”
Shannon, a transfer from Texas Tech, opened the overtime period with a short turnaround jumper from just outside the paint to put Illinois in front 70-68 just 43 seconds into the extra session. They were the first points for the six-foot, six-inch guard since the 11:47 mark of the second half that pulled Illinois to with 52-46 at the time.
His 3-pointer 43 seconds after ending his scoring drought extended the Illini advantage to 73-70 and his team would never trail again. He added two free throws a short time later as Illinois pushed the lead to 77-70 with 2:16 remaining in overtime.
The Longhorns managed to close to within 77-76 on a pair of free throws from Marcus Carr with 1:28 remaining in overtime. An Epps jumper in the lane ended the brief Texas rally and the Illini ended the game on an 8-2 run to secure the win.
Texas, which trailed 37-34 at halftime, fell behind 42-36 early in the second half when Mayer connected on a 3-pointer with 18:30 left to go in regulation to give Illinois its biggest lead in the game to that point.
But the Longhorns were unfazed. They responded by going on a 20-4 run over the next 10 minutes. A layup from Dillon Mitchell with 8:28 to go in the second half extended the Texas advantage to 56-56 at the point.
A 10-2 spurt by the Illini closed the gap to 58-56 on a 3-pointer from R.J. Melendez with 4:36 left.
Carr’s short jumper in the lane put the Longhorns seemingly in command with 60 seconds to go and his team holding a 68-63 advantage, but the Cyclones scored the next five points, all from Epps, including a pair of free throws with eight seconds left, to tie the game and force the extra session.
Mayer did his part in the first half by keeping Illinois in the game while Shannon got untracked. The six-foot, nine-inch graduate transfer from Baylor, poured in 15 points in the first half, by connecting on all six of his shots from the floor, including three from behind the arc to help the Illini to its lead at the intermission.
Another key to the success of the Illini in the first half was the five blocked shots that helped limit Texas to just 36 percent shooting (11-31) from the floor over the first 20 minutes. Illinois finished with 12 blocked shots in the contest. Texas, meanwhile, managed just five blocks in the contest.
Mayer was one of three Illinois players to reach double figures in the game with 21 points. He was eight of 10 from the floor, including connecting on all five of his 3-point attempts in the contest. He also tied for a game-high three blocked shots with teammate Coleman Hawkins, who also pulled down a team-high seven rebounds. Sencire Harris helped out with two rejections in the game for the Illini.
Shannon finished with 16 points thanks to his performance in overtime and Epps finished with 11 points in the contest.
Texas had just two players reach double digits with Timmy Allen leading the way with a season-high 21 points, while adding team-bests in assists (8) and rebounds (7). He shared the team-high in rebounds with Tyrese Hunter. The former Iowa State standout finished with 10 points in the game.
Roach Leads Duke Past Hawkeyes 74-62
Basketball games do not get much more balanced than the nightcap of the Jimmy V Classic on Dec. 6 at Madison Square Garden.
Duke built a 37-31 lead after the first 20 minutes and outscored Iowa by that same 37-31 margin in the second half on the way to a 74-62 win over the Hawkeyes. The 62 points were a season-low for the high-scoring Iowa offense which entered the game averaging 86.4 points through the first seven games of the season.
The win was the 40th in the history of the Duke program while playing in the World’s Most Famous Arena, and improved the Blue Devils to 4-0 when playing in the Jimmy V Classic.
Duke was in control for much of the game after building an 11-5 lead at the first media timeout and was never seriously challenged.
A 3-pointer from Tony Perkins just 1:32 into the contest put Iowa in front 3-2. The regained that advantage a short time later on a field goal from Patrick McCaffery that put the Hawkeyes in front 5-4 with 16:24 remaining in the opening half.
Duke’s Tyrese Proctor’s field goal 31 seconds later gave the lead back to the Blue Devils at 6-5 with 15:53 left in the half.
It was a lead the Blue Devils would never trail again as they went on to improve to 9-2 on the season with the win. Iowa, which did manage to tie the game 11-11 with 12:13 left in the half, was never able to regain a lead thanks in large part by back-to-back three-pointers from Jacob Grandison and Dariq Whitehead that put Duke in front 17-11 midway through the first half.
Jeremy Roach led three Duke players in double figures in scoring with 22 points in the winning effort. It was the second 20-point performance of the season for the six-foot, two-inch junior guard. He was joined by Mark Mitchell, who tallied 17 points, and Kyle Filipowski’s double-double of 12 points and 10 rebounds, including four on the offensive end. Filipowski has reached double figures in scoring in all 11 games this season for the Blue Devils. It was also the sixth double-double of the season for Filipowski, a seven-foot freshman.
Ryan Young paced Duke with 11 rebounds in the game as the Blue Devils enjoyed a 45-35 advantage on the glass.
Iowa, which dropped to 6-2 on the season with the loss, also placed a trio of players in double figures as McCaffery and Dasonte Bowen shared team-high honors with 12 points each. Teammate Filip Rebraca chipped in with 10 points.
A native of Bismarck, N.D., Ray is a graduate of North Dakota State University where he began studying athletic training and served as a student trainer for several Bison teams including swimming, wrestling and baseball and was a trainer at the 1979 NCAA national track and field championship meet at the University of Illinois. Ray later worked in the sports information office at NDSU. Following his graduation from NDSU he spent five years in the sports information office at Missouri Western State University and one year in the sports information at Georgia Tech. He has nearly 40 years of writing experience as a sports editor at several newspapers and has received numerous awards for his writing over the years. A noted sports historian, Ray is currently an assistant editor at Amateur Wrestling News.