Illini Win in Dramatic Fashion; Panthers Come Up Short

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Published on November 17 2012 3:53 pm
Last Updated on November 17 2012 3:53 pm
Written by Greg Sapp

Senior guard D.J. Richardson hit a three-pointer as time expired in overtime to give Illinois a thrilling 78-77 win over Hawaii in Honolulu overnight Friday, Effingham time.

The Fighting Illini (3-0) trailed most of the game and by as many as 16 points early in the second half, 44-28 with 19:33 left, but came back to take a two-point lead in the final minute.  Hawaii's Vander Joaquin hit a jumper as the clock expired in regulation to tie the game at 66 and send it to overtime.

Hawaii jumped out to a 74-69 lead in overtime, but two threes by Richardson in the final 2:15, including the game-winner just before the final buzzer, were enough to give John Groce's club the win.

Brandon Paul led the Illini with 25 points, Tracy Abrams tied his career high with 22 points and a career-high five assists, and Richardson finished with 16 points, all in the second half or overtime.

Illinois will now head to Maui for the EA SPORTS Maui Invitational Monday through Wednesday.  The Illini will face USC on Monday night at 11pm, Effingham time.

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Eastern Michigan used a late-game rally to defeat the Eastern Illinois Panthers 60-52 Friday night at the EMU Ice Man Classic at the Convocation Center in Ypsilanti.  EIU returns to tournament action today vs. Texas Pan-American.

EIU led 43-35 with 10:31 left, but Eastern Michigan closed the contest on an 18-4 run to post the come-from-behind win.

Sherman Blanford led the Panthers, narrowly missing a double-double, scoring a team-high 14 points and grabbing a team-high nine rebounds.  Josh Piper added 13 points and six rebounds while Austin Akers dished out a game-high seven assists.

EIU will play UTPA today at 3:30pm.