Jordan Hill's put-back with eight seconds left sent the game into overtime. From there it was all Arizona.
The Cats failed to score on their first nine possessions and trailed by double figures for much of the first half.
They got behind by as many as 12, but cut the lead to a bucket with just over 3:00 left. With :55 left Bayless found Hill down low for a dunk and their first lead of the game.
Player Of The Game
Jordan Hill scored 23 points and grabbed 14 rebounds. He was one of the lone bright spots while the Wildcat offense was struggling. More importantly he avoided foul trouble.
As good as Hill was, Nic Wise was equally important. He had 11 points and a bundle of assists, but was also the spark that ignited two key Arizona runs.
The Cats had four turnovers before they got off their first shot. Budinger finally got off a three with 18:00 left in the first half.
Illinois stormed out to a 12-0 lead and the Cats did not get on the scoreboard until the 14:48 mark. The Cats actually had eight turnovers on their first nine trips.
The Cats didn't just start out cold, it was cold. After a Blackhawks game the night before, the sheet of ice was still under the court, leaving the United Center a chilly place.
Does He Have To Buy A Ticket?
Michael Jordan was on hand to watch the game. His son is a freshman with the Illini. Considering there is a statute of ole 23 in front of the building, do you think he has to buy a ticket or does he have pass?
We keep talking about the need for a third scorer for the Cats. While he has to prove he can do it all the time, but Jordan Hill had eight of the Cats' first 11 points.
The Big Two?
The Wildcats' two best scorers had a combined four points, while Bayless' first bucket didn't come until the :18 mark of the half.
After committing eight early first half turnovers, the Cats committed just two more the rest of the half.
Before Calvin Brock's baseline jumper in the final :40, the Illini had just one-point in the previous 4:30.
Almost An Issue
Nic Wise stole the ball from Illinois with less the :03 to play and started to call timeout before he caught himself. Good thing too, the Cats were out of timeouts and would have been assessed a technical.
Chase Budinger failed to score a field goal in regulation, but nailed his first attempt in overtime to give the Cats the lead.
Free Throw Woes
Illinois shot a paltry 10-22 from the line, while the Cats were 25-32, including their last 10 in overtime as Illinois was fouling to stop the clock.
With less 2:06 remaining in overtime Brian Randle is not only called for a key charge, but he fouls out of the game.
Dunk You Very Much
With 1:00 left in overtime, a cold Jerryd Bayless drives a wide-open lane and throws down a one-handed monster dunk to put the Cats up by six.