Tracy Abrams made a pair of FTs with 4.6 seconds remaining in the game to put Illinois ahead by the final margin. Just 10 seconds earlier, Jabari Brown had hit a 3-PT shot from the left side, right in front of the Missouri bench, to give the Tigers the lead. Abrams finished with 22 points to lead the Illini. Illinois now leads the all-time series 28-16.
"It was a hard-fought, high-level game," said Coach Frank Haith, following his Tigers' first loss of the season. "I thought our guys competed. It was a very, very physical ball game, particularly there in the second half. But, we came up short."
Jordan Clarkson scored 25 points to lead all scorers. Missouri out-shot the Illini 45%-40% from the field, but the Tigers committed 14 turnovers, which led to 8 additional field goal attempts for Illinois.
Missouri started the game on an 8-0 run, then led 15-6 at the 12-minute mark of the 1st half. But, a couple of defensive breakdowns and 3 consecutive turnovers by Missouri allowed Illinois to put together a 10-0 run to take a 16-15 lead with 10:17 remaining in the 1st half.
Turnovers continued to plague Missouri throughout the 1st half, as the Tigers committed 10 turnovers before intermission, and Illinois took a 31-27 lead to the halftime locker room.
Missouri shot 44% from the field in the 1st half, and 44% from 3-PT land, and they held the Illini to just 39% from the field. But the Illini made 46% of their 3-PT shots, and they took advantage of Missouri's turnovers and cashed in on a 31-25 advantage in the number of field goals attempted.
Missouri opened the 2nd half with a couple of easy buckets in transition, and quickly closed the gap. Jordan Clarkson got to the rim and scored 5 quick points, including a two-handed jam in transition. The Tigers trailed 36-37 with 15:37 remaining in the game.
With over 12 minutes remaining, Missouri was in the bonus, and Clarkson went to the FT line and made both ends of a 1-and-1 to tie the score at 44-44.
The Illini took a page from Missouri's playbook and started to drive to the basket. The game had become very physical, and Johnathan Williams III required a cut man in his corner during a time-out. Missouri held a 53-50 lead with 7:25 remaining.
From that point in the game, there were 7 more lead changes in a game that saw a total of 15 lead changes. In a very physical game in which there was almost no decided statistical edge, the Illini were just a little bit tougher down the stretch.