Illinois Basketball

Terrence Shannon leads Illinois to first Sweet 16 in 19 years


OMAHA, NEBRASKA – MARCH 23: Marcus Domask #3 of the Illinois Fighting Illini reacts during the first half against the Duquesne Dukes in the second round of the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament at CHI Health Center on March 23, 2024 in Omaha, Nebraska. (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)

Duquesne came into Saturday’s game against Illinois hoping to continue their Cinderella story, but the Illini used 50 first half points to blast the Dukes 88-63 and to punch their ticket to the Sweet 16.

The berth is the first for the Illini in nearly 20 years, as they will head to the round-of-16 for the first time since 2005. In that season, Illinois reached the national championship game before falling to North Carolina.

Terrence Shannon had another monster game for the Illini, with 30 points and four assists to his credit. Marcus Domask chipped in with 2 points, and Coleman Hawkins nailed three three-pointers in the victory.

With the win, Illinois will face a stern test next week as they’ll take on the No. 2 seed Iowa State Cyclones in Boston.

Unlike their first round game against Morehead State, which saw the Illini struggle to a one-point halftime lead, this game got off to a flying start for Illinois, as they raced out to a 24-point halftime lead.

Shannon had 14 points in the first half, and a late dunk and a Marcus Domask layup gave Illinois a 50-26 lead after 20 minutes of action.

A Jimmy Clark III three-pointer cut a bit into Illinois’ lead early in the second half, but they quickly built it back up, with Shannon making a three-pointer and a dunk on successive possessions to extend the advantage back to 26 points, which is exactly the margin-of-victory the Illini racked up.

The Illini will take on the Cyclones on Thursday at Boston’s TD Garden. Tip time has not yet been determined, but will either take place at 5:30 p.m. or 8 p.m., with both games airing on TBS.

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