BLOOMINGTON, Ind. — Illinois has turned to Ayo Dosunmu repeatedly all through the previous two seasons with video games on the road.
Dosunmu has delivered. Repeatedly.
Final season was all about sport winners. The dagger jumpshots the 6-foot-5 guard hit in wins in opposition to Wisconsin and Michigan and Penn State. This season has been extra late sport takeovers. Not sport winners, per se, however a dominant stretch the place Dosunmu tapped into his interior All-American to place the Illini on prime.
Illinois had to determine a technique to do it with out Dosunmu on Tuesday evening at Indiana. Dosunmu missed a big chunk of the second half with foul hassle and in the end fouled out for the primary time in his profession with 2 minutes, 40 seconds left in regulation.
Illinois needed to flip elsewhere in opposition to the Hoosiers.
To freshman guard Andre Curbelo to inject life again into the Illini offense within the second half.
To senior guard Trent Frazier to knock down huge time three-pointers in his personal mini-run down the stretch.
To Kofi Cockburn for disrupting Indiana’s Trayce Jackson-Davis on one finish and scoring over the Hoosiers’ huge man on the different.
It was a bunch effort for Illinois. A profitable one which may have wanted time beyond regulation to tug off a 75-71 victory, however nonetheless yielded a highway win at Indiana for the primary time since 2010.
“On the finish of the day, this sport might resonate so much as a result of we didn’t have (Dosunmu),” Illinois coach Brad Underwood mentioned. “Ayo had a troublesome evening, and Indiana deserves numerous that credit score. … It’s good to win when your All-American doesn’t have it that evening.”
Tuesday evening’s win marked a 3rd straight for No. 12 Illinois (12-5, 8-3 Huge Ten). That streak got here on the heels of consecutive — and disappointing — house losses to Maryland and Ohio State in mid-January.
Beating Penn State, a prime 10 Iowa workforce and now Indiana on the highway in successive video games has the Illini on strong floor once more. Alone in second place within the Huge Ten behind league-leading, albeit at the moment inactive Michigan.
“This workforce needed to possibly reset and refocus on a few of their objectives,” Underwood mentioned. “We hit a lull. We hit a flat spot, which all people does on this league, and we bounced again a bit of bit. I’m enthusiastic about that.”
Illinois did it Tuesday with out Dosunmu and by counting on what’s changed into a prime 20 protection. A protection that needed to overcome three consecutive scouting report errors on the primary three performs of the sport that helped Indiana construct an early lead. A slim benefit, however a bonus nonetheless.
“It was a troublesome one, clearly,” Illinois freshman guard Andre Curbelo mentioned. “We didn’t have our greatest participant on the market, however that didn’t matter. It was an unsightly first half — an unsightly sport total — however on the half you already know what occurred. We turned up within the second half. We got here out with extra power, extra ardour. We needed to get stops, and we received them.
“It was an excellent workforce win. We fought, we fought, we fought and we fought, and that’s what we wanted to do. Simply battle again and get stops. That was huge time. We’ve simply received to maintain bettering. Ugly sport, however we discovered a technique to get the ‘W,’ and that’s all that issues.”
The defensive stops piled up for Illinois on the finish of the second half and into time beyond regulation, which began with Adam Miller and Jacob Grandison every drawing a cost. It ended with Da’Monte Williams poking the ball away from the Hoosiers for a key offensive rebound that arrange a Cockburn dunk that gave the Illini a four-point lead with 19 seconds left in time beyond regulation.
“I don’t suppose we received the ball sport due to our offense,” mentioned Curbelo, who had 12 factors and was considered one of 4 Illini in double figures together with Frazier (19 factors), Cockburn (16) and Dosunmu (10).
“Yeah, that performs an element in it, however our protection was enormous within the time beyond regulation,” Curbelo continued. “We began with two fees. That gave us a ton of power. That gave us an additional pump. These two performs proper there have been huge time. For my part, these have been the performs that made us win the sport — these two defensive stops.”
Illinois profitable performs to finish regulation and all through the time beyond regulation interval have been the sorts of performs Indiana coach Archie Miller wish to see his workforce make. The Hoosiers (9-8, 4-6) didn’t Tuesday evening, dropping their third straight sport at house and second in a row by simply 4 factors.
“We’re not powerful sufficient to complete video games off,” Miller mentioned. “We’re not powerful sufficient in little performs, unfastened balls. There’s simply too a lot of these performs proper now we’re not capable of end off. The powerful performs you’ve received to make to win. That’s why we’re in so many heartbreakers.”