Illinois Uses Defense to Defeat Indiana, 51-49

Illinois headed into Bloomington, IN needing a win to stay in the race for the Big Ten Championship, and that is exactly what they obtained as the Illini used stellar defense to grind out a 51-49 win over the Indiana Hoosiers on Tuesday night. <Br><br> The Illini defense held the Hoosiers without a field goal for the final 9:52 of the game to close out their come from behind victory. Illinois was led in scoring by Roger Powell who scored 15, Deron Williams added 12.

ESPN has dubbed this week rivalry week, and their match up from the Big Ten was Indiana and Illinois in Bloomington. The Fighting Illini came into this game needing a road win to stay in the race for the Big Ten Championship, and that is what their defense provided them. The Illini held Indiana to 31.3% shooting from the floor, and without a field goal for the final 9:52 of the game.

The Illini took their first lead of the game with 3:30 left as Nick Smith hit a jumper from behind the free throw line on a pick and pop with Deron Williams. Nick's first shot marked Illinois' first lead at 49-48. On the next possession, Indiana's Sean Kline could only convert one of two free throws to tie the game for the Hoosiers. On Illinois' ensuing possession, Williams drove to the middle and found Smith in the corner for a long jumper to give Illinois the final margin of victory, 51-49.

Indiana had two shots to either take the lead or tie the Illini in the final seconds of the game, but Nick Smith blocked Bracey Wright's three-point attempt, and then another Wright attempt from about 35-feet came up long. The misses by Wright allowed Luther Head and Dee Brown to breathe sighs of relief as both Illini guards missed the front end of one and one opportunities in the final twenty-four seconds that could have sealed the game for Illinois.

Roger Powell once again led the Illini in scoring and rebounding with 15 points and 8 rebounds on the evening. Deron Williams was the only other Illinois player to score in double digits as he contributed 12 points, all in the second half, as well as 6 assists.

The Hoosiers were led in scoring by AJ Moye who scored 14 points. The Illini defenders, specifically Deron Williams, held Indiana's leading scorer Bracey Wright to 9 points on 2-10 shooting from the floor. When Williams was out of the game in foul trouble from about the eight minute mark until the four minute mark, Luther Head received the defensive assignment on Wright and continued the stifling defense.

J. Augustine 23 1-5 0-0 4 7 1 3 2
R. Powell 32 7-12 1-2 2 8 0 3 15
L. Head 36 3-7 0-1 2 6 3 0 7
D. Williams 32 4-13 4-4 0 0 6 4 12
D. Brown 32 3-9 0-1 2 5 2 3 7
R. McBride 18 0-4 0-0 1 1 0 0 0
B. Randle 2 0-0 0-0 0 1 0 1 0
N. Smith 20 4-6 0-0 1 2 0 3 8
J. Ingram 5 0-0 0-0 0 1 0 1 0

Team Rebounds: 3
Turnovers: 12 (J. Augustine 3, D. Williams 3, N. Smith 2, L. Head, R. McBride, D. Brown, R. Powell)
Blocked Shots: 8 (N. Smith 3, J. Augustine 2, L. Head, D. Williams, R. Powell)
Steals: 8 (J. Augustine 2, D. Brown 2, R. Powell, D. Williams, R. McBride, B. Randle)
3-Point Field Goals: 2-16 (L. Head 1-4, D. Brown 1-4, D. Williams 0-4, R. McBride 0-3, J. Augustine 0-1)
Technical Fouls: None

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