Miami 63, Illinois 59: Rapid Reaction

AUSTIN, Texas - A closer look at the Illinois-Miami third round matchup in the NCAA Tournament.

It was over when: Hurricanes guard Rion Brown sank two free throws to put Miami up four with less than 10 seconds to play.

Illinois player of the game: Brandon Paul. The senior went out swinging, scoring 18 points and keeping the Illini in the game in the second half with crucial 3s and strong takes to the basket.

Miami player of the game: Rion Brown. The junior came off the bench to score 20 points, hitting 5 of 10 from 3, and grabbing five rebounds.

X factor: Nnanna Egwu. The sophomore forward was all energy and ambition, grabbing offensive rebounds and working hard defensively. He finished with 12 points and 12 boards.

The takeaway: Nobody gave Illinois much of chance against the ACC Champs, but the Illini gave the Hurricanes all they could handle. Tough defense and timely shooting gave Illinois a chance to win. What looked to be a poor call on a ball that went out of bounds cost the Illini the opportunity to win or tie late in the game. It's a shame questionable officiating altered the outcome -- it was a great game played and deserved to be completely in the hands of the players to the end. Brandon Paul provided many great moments in his final game. His 3s and takes to the basket were critical. Tyler Griffey scored 12 off the bench. Nnanna Egwu played his best game of the season, and Tracy Abrams had another tough-as-nails outing as well. D.J. Richardson, however, struggled, shooting 1 for 11. The season's end came in fitting fashion -- a tough, resilient effort that nearly led to an upset.


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