LAS VEGAS — — Terrence Shannon Jr. made 8 of 9 3-pointers and scored 29 factors with 10 rebounds, and No. 19 Illinois rallied from a 15-level deficit to beat No. 8 UCLA 79-70 on Friday evening.
The Illini (4-0) will play No. 16 Virginia in Sunday’s championship sport of the Continental Tire Main Event. UCLA (3-1) faces fifth-ranked Baylor within the comfort sport.
UCLA led 44-29 early within the second half, and the Bruins had been in entrance by 10 factors when Illinois went on a 22-6 run to take a lead it by no means gave again to the delight of a closely pro-Illini crowd.
“I’m actually pleased with this group,” Illinois coach Brad Underwood mentioned. “Fifteen down, the eighth-ranked group within the nation, quite a lot of unknowns, quite a lot of guys who’ve by no means been there, by no means completed something remotely near what this was about. Now it was a house courtroom for us. I’ll say that.
Shannon, who mentioned he was “within the zone the entire sport,” shot 9 of 13 general. Maybe the one space the place he struggled was on the free throw line, the place he went 3-for-7. The Texas Tech switch surpassed 1,000 profession factors.
He entered Friday’s sport as one in every of 4 gamers nationally to common at the least 22 factors, six rebounds and three assists. Shannon had three assists towards the Bruins.
“He changed into Steph Curry when he obtained right here,” mentioned Illinois swingman Matt Mayer, who scored 11 factors.
Tyger Campbell scored 22 factors and Jaime Jaquez Jr. had 20 for the Bruins. UCLA led 37-28 at halftime and expanded the result in 15 factors on a 3-pointer by Jaquez lower than two minutes into the second half.
Shannon then made a 3 to leap-begin Illinois’ rally, and by the point the Illini had been completed, that they had scored 51 second-half factors.
UCLA coach Mick Cronin mentioned he wished he had watched the sport “as a fan.” But he was in any other case important of his group, saying his gamers had been prepared to hold “a banner as a result of we beat Norfolk State.”
“I’ve no constructive ideas on any participant on UCLA’s efficiency, not one, together with the coach,” Cronin mentioned.
Beginning in 2024, UCLA-Illinois might be a convention sport as soon as the Bruins be part of the Big Ten, except the University of California regents determine in any other case. They met Dec. 14 to determine whether or not UCLA will be part of the Big Ten. … This is the primary assembly for the reason that 1996-97 and 1997-98 seasons when the groups cut up their conferences, every successful on its residence courtroom. … UCLA misplaced for the second time in a row at T-Mobile Arena. The Bruins additionally misplaced to Arizona 84-76 in final season’s Pac-12 Conference event championship sport. … Illinois is the Big Ten’s winningest group over the previous three seasons with a mixed convention report of 44-16.
UCLA: Five key gamers return from the Bruins group that went 27-8 final season and made the Sweet 16 of the NCAA Tournament. Those embrace Campbell and Jaquez, who every have greater than 1,000 profession factors and had been first-group All-Pac-12 final season. To stability out the veterans, the Bruins have six freshmen, together with two McDonald’s All-Americans.
Illinois: The Illini added eight new gamers after final season, together with three transfers from Power Five faculties to go together with a high-10 recruiting class. They needed to make up the distinction from shedding all 5 starters from a group that gained the Big Ten common-season title. Illinois superior to the second spherical of the NCAA Tournament every of the previous two seasons.
The Illini face Virginia for the event title, whereas UCLA performs Baylor in a comfort sport between groups ranked within the high 10.
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