The IU men’s basketball team lost Thursday afternoon to the Illinois Fighting Illini 64-54.
IU began the second half on a 6-0 run, before graduate student forward Jon Ekey hit a 3-pointer more than four minutes into the half.
With IU leading 38-33, junior guard Tracy Abrams went on a 5-0 run of his own. After sophomore guard Kevin “Yogi” Ferrell missed a layup, Abrams went up for a layup of his own, making the shot plus the foul.
Illinois then went on an 11-0 run that featured a surplus of IU turnovers and fouls, which put Illinois in the bonus with 10 minutes 44 seconds to play.
Freshman forward Noah Vonleh ended the Illinois run with a two-handed dunk out of an Indiana timeout.
On the next Illinois possession, Ekey grabbed an offensive rebound. Later in the possession he hit a corner 3-pointer to give Illinois a 47-40 lead.
IU went on a quick 6-0 run after the Ekey 3-pointer. Ferrell hit two free throws followed by a baseline jumper from senior wing Will Sheehey to close the gap to 47-44. After a missed jumper from Egwu, Ferrell hit a layup, but Abrams hit an open 3-pointer on Illinois’ next possession to give it a 50-46 lead.
After graduate student guard Evan Gordon missed a long 3-pointer, he rebounded his own miss, driving the baseline and finding freshman forward Troy Williams for a layup that cut the lead to 50-48.
On consecutive possessions junior guard Rayvonte Rice picked up non-shooting fouls on IU. He would make 3-of-4 from the line.
Down 53-48, Sheehey found a slashing Williams for a layup to cut the lead to three.
After a Vonleh steal, sophomore forward Austin Etherington hit a layup to trim the lead to 53-52 with two minutes 59 seconds to play. Illinois Coach John Groce called timeout.
Driving to the lane, Rice’s layup rolled off the rim and into Vonleh’s hands, who got blocked by Egwu on IU’s next possession.
On Illinois’ next possession, Abrams faked a pass to his left, which prompted an IU defender to turn around. Abrams pulled up and hit a 3-pointer, giving Illinois a 56-52 lead.
From that point on, Illinois would close the game on a 8-2 run. The loss drops the Hoosiers to 17-15 on the season and a game in next week’s National Invitational Tournament awaits.