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Minnesota vs Illinois

Illinois 51, Minnesota 49

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CHICAGO (AP) - If he has hit a bigger shot than this, Brandon Paul couldn't remember it. He'd have a hard time matching it.

Paul nailed a fadeaway jumper at the buzzer and finished with 25 points to lead Illinois to a 51-49 victory over Minnesota in the first round of the Big Ten tournament on Thursday.

"I didn't want to lose. We worked too hard to get to this point," Paul said. "This team has so much character. My mindset was just to be aggressive. Coach told me to stay aggressive. I basically wanted to attack on offense and do other things. I'm more excited about I didn't turn the ball over today."

Illinois (22-11) led by as much as 12 but was trailing by three when D.J. Richardson nailed a 3 with 47 seconds left to tie it at 49. That basket came after the Illini missed four shots on the possession.

The Gophers (20-12) had a chance to win it, but Austin Hollins stepped on the sideline after catching an inbounds pass with 14 seconds left. Paul then went the other way and pulled up left of the free throw line for the winner as time expired, sending the eighth-seeded Illini to the quarterfinals Friday against top-seeded and third-ranked Indiana.

Paul was the only player to score in double figures for the Illini, who shot just 32.1 percent and were outrebounded 38-26. They pulled this one out, anyway, because they had more offensive rebounds (12) than Minnesota (11) and committed just six turnovers while the Gophers had 19.

Coach John Groce said he was "50-50" about calling a timeout before the winning shot but "decided to ride with it."

"The big thing that we were trying to do there is make sure he didn't go until between five and seven on the game clock because we wanted to make sure we got the last shot," Groce said.

Now, they'll get Indiana again, a team they beat last month. The Gophers will have to wait and see what's next.

Austin Hollins, who thought he might have been pushed on that out of bounds play, led Minnesota with 16 points. Andre Hollins added 13 points and eight rebounds for the Gophers, who still are a good bet for the NCAA tournament even though it's been a disappointing stretch for a team that was ranked No. 8 at one point.

"I think we have a good resume," coach Tubby Smith said after his team's third straight loss and seventh in 10 games. "We haven't played well of late, but when you look at the entire body of work . but it's not up to us. It will be a sweat-it-out type of thing."

Illinois was leading 32-22 early in the second half when Minnesota went on a 19-4 run.

The Gophers scored 10 straight, getting back-to-back 3-pointers by Andre Hollins and a three-point play by Andre Ingram to tie it before Nnanna Egwu scored on a put-back for Illinois. Minnesota continued to pour it on, though, and Austin Hollins finished the run by hitting three free throws to make it 41-36 with 8:35 remaining.

It remained tight right up until Paul hit that jumper at the end, sending a loud roar through the arena.

That came after a huge basket by Richardson, who had missed two 3-pointers on that possession before tying it. He was just 2 of 12 in the game but delivered the end.

"My teammates found me, I kept shooting," Richardson said. "I'm a shooter, that's what coach wanted me to do. I didn't think about (the missed shots)."

All that came after a first half that was nothing short of ugly.

Paul scored 12 as Illinois built a 25-16 lead despite hitting just 9 of 24 shots, but as bad as things were for them, multiply it a few times for Minnesota.

The Gophers were 6 of 22 with 11 turnovers, and that barely tells the story. They got outscored 19-2 over a 12-minute stretch after jumping out to a 7-2 lead and went nearly eight minutes without a point.

"It's not a feeling that you want to go into Selection Sunday," Andre Hollins said. "We haven't played our best basketball these past three games. We still want to have faith. We have a pretty good resume. A tough strength of schedule, a good RPI.

Copyright 2014 by STATS LLC and The Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and The Associated Press is strictly prohibited.
 
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Scoreboard
Minnesota (20-12)163349
Illinois (22-11) «252651
MINN:A. Hollins 16 Pts
MINN:A. Hollins 8 Reb
MINN:J. Coleman 3 Ast
ILL:B. Paul 25 Pts
ILL:N. Egwu 6 Reb
ILL:B. Paul 2 Ast

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PLAYERS OF THE GAME
MinnesotaIllinois
MINN
Austin Hollins
ILL
Brandon Paul
PtsRebsAstPtsRebsAst
16622552
Minnesota Golden Gophers
R. Williams Jr., F382-71-22235
A. Hollins, G364-102-283113
T. Mbakwe, F273-42-27238
A. Hollins, G244-55-562216
J. Coleman, G212-60-06304
A. Ingram, F231-41-11023
M. Ahanmisi, G110-10-02110
E. Eliason, C70-00-00010
J. Welch, G50-20-01000
O. Osenieks, F50-10-22000
M. Walker, F30-00-01000
C. Halvorsen, FDid Not Play
K. Shell, GDid Not Play
C. Buggs, FDid Not Play
W. Ellenson, GDid Not Play
Totals 16-4011-1436131349
 40.0%78.6% 
Illinois Fighting Illini
D. Richardson, G372-120-01226
B. Paul, G3610-161-152225
N. Egwu, F-C312-62-26136
T. Abrams, G281-54-54226
T. Griffey, F232-80-02014
J. Bertrand, G191-40-01012
S. McLaurin, F160-32-23132
M. Henry, G-F100-20-02010
K. Berardini, GDid Not Play
R. Rice, GDid Not Play
I. Djimde, F-CDid Not Play
D. Langford, G-FDid Not Play
M. Shaw, FDid Not Play
M. LaTulip, GDid Not Play
Totals 18-569-102481551
 32.1%90.0% 
Big Ten
TeamConf. W-LTot. W-LRPI Rank
Maryland0-010-141
Penn St.0-010-139
Wisconsin0-010-116
Ohio St.0-09-127
Indiana0-08-2140
Minnesota0-08-277
Illinois0-08-365
Iowa0-08-3103
Michigan St.0-08-344
Purdue0-08-3133
Nebraska0-06-3139
Michigan0-06-494
Northwestern0-06-4125
Rutgers0-06-487
 
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CIN 43 Final
GU 62
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PITT 59
PSU 66 Final
MICH 83
AZST 75 Final
UCLA 80
TTU 63 Final
KAN 91
COLO 69 Final
ARIZ 79
NOVA 55 Final
LOU 74
TUL 68 Final
MEMP 81
UT 49 Final
KSU 66
ND 73 Final
MU 65
BAYL 72 Final
OKST 74