Indiana avenges loss to Illinois in Big Ten quarters
Chicago, IL, United States (4E Sports) – Cody Zeller scored 24 points and grabbed nine rebounds to lead No. 3 Indiana Hoosiers past the Illinois Fighting Illini 80-64 Friday in the quarterfinals of the Big Ten conference tournament.
The win avenged a two-point loss of the top-seeded Hoosiers (27-5) at Illinois (22-12) last month and set up a matchup with Michigan or Wisconsin in Saturday’s semifinals.
Zeller was 9 of 11 from the field and hit all six free throws. He keyed a 12-2 run that bumped their lead from five to 22-7, scoring eight during that stretch. He scored 14 points as the Hoosiers built a 35-21 halftime lead.
“They were double teaming so I was trying to find the open man,” Zeller said. “But even if I don’t score it, it opens up a lot of things for our shooters on the outside. I thought we did a nice job of that and it opened up a lot.”
Victor Oladipo, the Big Ten’s Defensive Player of the Year, added 12 points and 11 rebounds. He also helped contain Brandon Paul.
Christian Watford scored 15, and the Hoosiers shot 54 percent overall even though they were just 5 of 17 on 3-pointers.
Illinois was out of sync at the start and couldn’t make up for it down the stretch.
The Illini got within single digits for the first time since the early going when D.J. Richardson hit two free throws with 8:17 left to make it 60-52, but Indiana held its ground.
Jordan Hulls whipped a pass to Oladipo underneath for a layup after Abrams missed a 3. The Hoosiers struck again with Watford hitting from beyond the arc to make it 65-52 with 5:31 remaining.
Illinois was led by Paul and Tracy Abrams, who each finished with 16 points.
Brandon’s points mostly came from the free throw line, where he was 11 of 12. He shot just 2 of 13 after scoring 25 and hitting the winning jumper at the buzzer in the first round against Minnesota.
Wth the loss, the Fighting Illini bowed out of the Big Ten tournament.