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Illinois stuns No. 2 Texas in OT in instant classic

The Illini overcame EVERYTHING in the second half.

NCAA Basketball: Jimmy V Classic-Illinois at Texas Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

NEW YORK — An instant classic in the Jimmy V Classic.

A near 9-minute scoring drought. A questionable goaltending call. A timeout before a 3-pointer. A freshman at the charity stripe with the game on the line.

No. 17 Illinois overcame it all Tuesday night at Madison Square Garden as it stunned No. 2 Texas in overtime, 85-78.

In a game that looked like it could’ve been a Longhorn blowout at one point, the Illini stormed back after being down 8 points to force overtime.

And once it got there, it was ALL Terrence Shannon Jr. The senior guard didn’t score in the first half, had 4 points in the second half, but broke out for 12 in the extra period.

It wasn’t easy to force overtime though, as the Illini needed some things to go their way. They had to finally make some shots and shake off a lengthy second-half drought, something freshman Jayden Epps stepped up to do. He made a late three, and then had to sink two free throws with only seven seconds left to tie the game.

Epps’ 11 late points were a huge difference maker in the win, and shows how resilient the Illini (7-2, 0-1 Big Ten) can be.

Texas (6-1, 0-0 Big 12) is a team that’s already taken down the likes of Gonzaga and Creighton this season, so to say this win means A LOT is an understatement.


GOALTENDING?: Down 64-61, Coleman Hawkins was called for this goaltending on the floor and the call stood.

The announcers thought it was the wrong call — just saying.

MAYER’S BREAKOUT: Matthew Mayer only missed two shots Tuesday night. The senior forward had 21 points on 8-of-10 shooting, including 5-5 from behind the arc. It was only a matter of time until we saw the Mayer from Baylor who loved playing in big games.

FIRST-HALF TURNOVERS: This has been a common theme this season so far. Eleven first-half Illini turnovers led to nine Longhorn points. Texas was very clean in that category only having three.



This is Illinois’ first win over Texas since December 1997. The all-time series is now tied at 3.

The Illini have nine all-time wins against top-2 teams.



The Illini return to State Farm Center Saturday afternoon for a Big Ten tilt against Penn State.

Tipoff is at 11 a.m. and will be televised on BTN.