Indiana had many different opportunities to fold in the second half on Sunday, and the Hoosiers never did.
They had an answer for every one of Illinois' many runs as the Hoosiers held on for an impressive 80-74 road win at Illinois. It was the Illini's first home loss of the season.
Troy Williams and James Blackmon Jr. had 21 points apiece to lead the Hoosiers, who have now won two Big Ten road games in three tries this season. Williams was 8-of-10 from the field and pulled down nine rebounds. Blackmon was 7-of-12 from the field, 4-of-6 from beyond the arc, and pulled down seven boards.
It was another game of runs for the Hoosiers (14-4, 4-1 Big Ten), and they once again found a way to win a close game at the end, something they rarely did a year ago.
Indiana trailed 61-52 with just over 10 minutes remaining, and Illinois' record crowd of 17,085 was loud. The Hoosiers were in big trouble in an arena they hadn't won in since 2008.
But like they did all afternoon, the Hoosiers responded.
Collin Hartman buried a 3-pointer to make it 61-55 and keep IU within striking distance. After Ahmad Starks buried a 3 to put Illinois back up seven at 64-57, Blackmon Jr. immediately answered with a 3-pointer of his own.
Indiana took the lead for good with 1:24 remaining on a ridiculous putback by Williams. The Hoosiers had trailed 72-67, but Williams' tip-in off of a missed Yogi Ferrell layup gave Indiana a 73-72 lead it would not relinquish.
"All athleticism and a reaction," Williams said afterward. "It happened to go in for me."
Illinois took a timeout, but Ferrell immediately stole an errant pass and found Blackmon for a layup on the other end. After Starks hit two free throws, Williams buried two of his own on the other end to push the lead back to three. The Hoosiers then forced a difficult 3-point attempt by Malcolm Hill, which Zeisloft rebounded.
It was a huge win for Indiana, especially considering how well Illinois (12-7, 2-4) shot the ball. The Illini made 12 3-pointers in the game after making 36 total 3s in their first five conference games combined (7.2 per game). Starks was shooting only 26.6 percent from beyond the arc on the season, but he made 5-of-8 against Indiana, including three from NBA range.
Sophomore Kendrick Nunn also had a career game for Illinois, scoring 24 points on six 3-pointers.
And despite it all, the Hoosiers found a way to win in a place they had won only once in the last 15 years.
Indiana shot 48 percent from the field and made 11-of-25 shots from beyond the arc. The Hoosiers turned it over only nine times and won the rebounding battle 31-25.
Zeisloft was the only other IU player in double figures with 10 points on 3-of-5 shooting from deep.
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