Free Throws Cost Illini in Double Overtime

CHAMPAIGN, IL-Coming into the game, the story was about return of Indiana's Eric Gordon to Champaign. By the end, it was the same old story about the Illinois basketball season-the inability to hold a lead and finish a game.

With the game tied 63-63, Illinois senior center Shaun Pruitt missed the front end of a one-and-one with four seconds left in regulation, and missed two free throws with two seconds left in the first overtime with the score tied 69-69, and Indiana went on to win 83-79 in double overtime.

The game had been circled on most Illini fan's calendars since October 13, 2006, when Indiana freshman Gordon reneged on his commitment to Illinois and announced that he was going to Indiana. This was Gordon's first visit to Champaign since the announcement, and the Illini crowd was absolutely ready to welcome him back. Gordon was booed every time he touched the ball, and the Illinois student section had a variety of cheers aimed at Gordon and Indiana head coach Kelvin Sampson, who is under NCAA investigation for recruiting violations.

After all the hype, Gordon wasn't even the best freshman on the floor. Illinois freshman Demetri McCamey went 11-20 from the field, and 7-13 from behind the arc, and scored 31 points, easily surpassing his previous career high of 18.

Gordon initially appeared to be rattled by the hostile crowd, missing his first three shots from the field, each miss greeted by thundering cheers. He finished the half 0-4 with one point and two turnovers, as Illinois took a 29-25 lead into the locker room. In the second half, Gordon settled down, scoring 17 points, including a banked-in 3 pointer with 25 seconds left that tied the game at 63. Gordon finished with 19 points on 3-13 shooting. Pruitt was fouled on a rebound on the ensuing possession, and missed the free throw. IU's Jamarcus Ellis pulled down the rebound, but IU was unable to get off a decent shot before time expired.

The Illini jumped ahead in the first overtime by 3 on a Jeffrey Jordan jumper and a McCamey free throw, but IU bounced back with back to back 3 pointer from freshman Jordan Crawford, who finished with 18 points. McCamey answered with a three of his own, and Gordon fouled Pruitt after an offensive rebound with 2 seconds remaining, and the Illini in the double bonus. Pruitt missed the first, then missed the second after an Indiana timeout.

In the second overtime, IU's Armon Bassett took over. Bassett hit a 3 to put IU up by 3, and hit 8 free throws down the stretch to keep the Illini at bay. will have additional features on the game and interviews with players and coaches on Friday.

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