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Illinois stumbles against Arizona, 90-69

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The Illini were outscored in the second half by 20 points.

NCAA Basketball: Illinois at Arizona Jacob Snow-USA TODAY Sports

Turnovers, turnovers, turnovers.

Illinois couldn’t hang on against No. 21 Arizona on Sunday night in Tuscon, Arizona as it fell, 90-69, to the Wildcats.

With an eight-day break looming, Illinois Head Coach Brad Underwood will have plenty of material for his practice plans this week. In addition to giving up 90 points, the Illini allowed the Wildcats to shoot over 50 percent from the floor, 40 percent from behind the arc, and committed over 20 turnovers. Not exactly mistakes you can afford to commit when squaring off against one of the best teams in the country.

The Illini raced ahead early 13-6 thanks to a strong start from deep. It was a back-and-forth half, however, that saw multiple lead changes.

But there’s a reason Nico Mannion is one of the best guards in the country. His 11 points and three assists led the Wildcats at half. Illinois was still able to hang around despite 11 first-half turnovers, trailing Arizona by one heading into the break, 39-38.

Turnovers continued to be the story in the second half. While the Wildcats used a 15-3 run to pad their lead, Illinois went through a five minute drought without a field goal. It’s hard to beat top 25 teams when you go on skids like that. The Wildcats continued to extend their lead with the Illini in foul trouble, winning by a final of 90-69.

MOMENT THAT MATTERS

  • An Ayo Dosunmu 6-0 run shortly before half put Illinois up 36-32. These two aren’t even the best bucket in the sequence:
  • Giorgi Bezhanishvili fouled out with under three minutes to go after he was assessed a personal and a subsequent technical. He finished with six points and one rebound.

STAT STUFFERS

  • Andres Feliz notched his second double-double of the young season with 13 points and 10 rebounds.
  • Arizona’s freshmen trio of Mannion, Zeke Nnaji, and Josh Green combined for 62 points, 14 rebounds, and 13 assists.

TWEET OF THE GAME

WHO’S NEXT

The Illini return home and get a short break before they welcome Hawaii (1-0) next Monday night at 7 p.m. CT.