Illinois Falls to Arkansas, 73-63 In NCAA Tourney


Published on March 17 2023 8:21 am
Last Updated on March 17 2023 8:21 am

DES MOINES, Iowa -- Three Illini scorers finished in double figures, but it was not enough as [9] Illinois fell to [8] Arkansas, 73-63, in the first round of the NCAA Division I Men's Basketball Championship at Wells Fargo Arena on Thursday afternoon.

Terrence Shannon Jr. scored 12 of his team-high 20 points in the second half, his 11th game this season with at least 20 points. Shannon also grabbed two rebounds and notched one steal.

RJ Melendez registered all 10 of his points in the second half, including a stretch during which he scored eight straight on two 3-pointers and a layup. Melendez's 10-point outing was his eighth double-digit scoring performance of the season, and he also recorded six rebounds, three assists, and one steal.

Coleman Hawkins finished the afternoon with 10 points, while he knocked down two 3-pointers, including one early in the second half during a 7-0 Illini run. Hawkins also notched four rebounds, three assists, and three steals.

Ty Rodgers ended his NCAA Tournament debut with six points, three rebounds, and a team-high four steals.

Luke Goode made two 3-pointers for the third consecutive game, while Dain Dainja tallied five points, six rebounds, and a team-high two blocks.

Illinois finishes the season with a 20-13 record, the program's fourth season in a row with at least 20 wins.. 


Illinois' season ended at 20-13 overall and 11-9 in the Big Ten.

Illinois made its 33rd all-time appearance in the NCAA Tournament. 

Illinois made its third straight NCAA Tournament appearance (fourth precluded by COVID-19 cancellation in 2020).

Illinois is one of four Big Ten teams – and one of 19 teams nationally – to earn a bid in each of the last three NCAA Tournaments.

Illinois' active streak of three straight NCAA Tournament appearances is its longest since participating eight years in a row from 2000 through 2007. 

Illinois was the Big Ten's winningest team in league play over the last four seasons (55-25, .688). The Illini have four straight 20-win regular seasons, four straight top-five B1G finishes, and four straight winning records in Big Ten play.

The Illini rank fifth among Big Ten teams and 19th among all schools for most NCAA Tournament appearances. 

Illinois is 42-34 (.552) all-time in NCAA Tournament games.


Terrence Shannon Jr. led the Illini with a game-high 20 points

It was his 11th 20-point game of the season

Luke Goode matched season highs in minutes (23), three-pointers (2), rebounds (4) and steals (1)

RJ Melendez scored in double-figures for the eighth time on the season

Two three-pointers tied a season high, giving him seven games with multiple triples on the year

Coleman Hawkins tallied his 16th double-digit scoring game of the season

Ty Rodgers notched a season-high four steals.