Unlikely source lifts Illini

Jack Ingram's pair of 3-pointers spark Illinois' second-half rally

MADISON – Prior to Tuesday night, Illinois forward Jack Ingram had made 2 of 7 3-point attempts all season.

He hit two in a row in the second half of top-ranked Illinois' 75-65 win over Wisconsin at the Kohl Center here, turning momentum permanently in Illinois' favor.

Ingram's first triple from near the top of the key tied the game at 58-58 with 8:19 left to play. One possession later he did it again from essentially the same spot on the floor, this one giving Illinois a 61-58 lead with 7:41 on the clock.

"It seemed like it was the same plays, instant replay or something," UW senior guard Sharif Chambliss said.

It became a nightmare for the Badgers. Ingram's shots capped a 13-2 Illinois run and presaged the 14-1 run the Illini closed with after Wisconsin built a 64-61 edge.

"It changed the game," Illinois coach Bruce Weber said. "Jack Ingram just made those big plays and got us back in the ballgame."

Ingram, a 6-foot-10, 245-pound senior, played 21 minutes Tuesday, eight more than his season average, primarily because starting forwards James Augustine and Roger Powell battled foul trouble.

"I never know when my opportunity is going to come," Ingram said. "James picked up a couple early fouls [in the first half] and I got a little more minutes than maybe I would have. The second half was a little bit different and I came in with my normal role. My teammates… they put me in a good situation and I just knocked the shots down."

In addition to the 3-pointers, Ingram hit a pair of free throws with 3:39 left to play to give Illinois the lead for good at 65-64.

Ingram also played strong defense, helping the Illini hold Wisconsin without a field goal in the final 4:34. Soon after his free throws, Ingram stole Chambliss' attempted entry pass to senior forward Mike Wilkinson. The Illini scored on their next two possessions to take a 69-64 lead.

"You know, if we don't hit that one stretch and Ingram doesn't nail the two 3s – it is so typical of a lot of games we've had in here," UW coach Bo Ryan said. "But you have to give a team credit when they do make those plays."

Ingram finished with eight points – all in the second half – and six rebounds, giving him one more board than Wilkinson on the night. Incidentally, Ingram's season 3-point field goal percentage jumped from 29 percent to 44 percent with his 2-for-2 performance Tuesday.

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