NEW YORK CITY — No. 17 Illinois fought back from a double-digit second-half deficit to force overtime and take down No. 2 Texas, 85-78, at Madison Square Garden on Tuesday night. The win marked the program's first victory over a team ranked in the top two of the AP poll since March 2, 2021, and the contest was part of the Jimmy V Classic in New York City.
Matthew Mayer scored a season-high 21 points, including five 3-pointers, which tied his career high. Terrence Shannon Jr. scored 12 of his 16 points in overtime, his eighth double-figure scoring performance this season.
Jayden Epps registered 11 points, including the Illini's final five points of the second half to send the game to overtime.
Illinois recorded a season-high 12 blocks in the win, with Mayer, Coleman Hawkins, and Sencire Harris all tallying at least two.
After Mayer opened the scoring with a 3-pointer, the two sides traded baskets. An 11-3 run midway through the first half that included three Illinois triples pushed the Illini advantage to four with under eight minutes to play in the opening frame.
Illinois closed the first half on a 9-3 run and held a narrow 37-34 lead at the break. Mayer led all scorers with a season-high 15 points, on 6-for-6 shooting, and Hawkins notched seven in his 19 minutes of first-half action.
The Illini clawed their way back from a double-digit deficit with eight minutes remaining in the second half. A 10-2 run cut Texas' lead to two, via seven points from RJ Melendez, with under five minutes to play. With the Illini down by five with one minute to play, Epps scored the final five points of the game in regulation to force overtime for the first time this season.
Shannon scored eight of Illinois' first nine points in overtime en route to a seven-point Illini lead with just over two minutes to play.
Illinois fended off a late Texas push with an 8-2 run, and the Illini ultimately picked up its second top-10 win of the season.
The Illini return to State Farm Center on Saturday afternoon for their Big Ten home opener against Penn State. Tipoff is scheduled for 11 a.m. on Big Ten Network.
MORE: Division I Men’s Basketball Committee selects future Final Four sites
- Brad Underwood is now 12-10 against AP Top-10 opponents with Illinois, including 2-0 this season.
- Underwood is now 12-5 in his last 17 games against AP Top-10 opponents.
- Underwood is now 19-28 against opponents ranked in the AP Top 25.
- Underwood is 7-5 in overtime games in his Illini career.
- It's the first win by Illinois over a team ranked as high as No. 2 since beating Michigan on March 2, 2021, in Ann Arbor.
- Illinois has now evened the all-time series against Texas to 3-3.
- It's the first win by the Illini since Dec. 20, 1997.
- The Illini blocked 12 shots in the contest, setting a season high.
- They have blocked at least seven shots in three-straight games.
- Illinois out-rebounded Texas 32-27.
- The Illini scored 10 second-chance points on 10 offensive rebounds.
- Illinois scored 17 points off of 14 Texas turnovers.
- The Illini defense has forced at least 14 turnovers seven times this season.
- The Illini are 5-0 this season when a player scores at least 20 points.
- Fifth-year Matthew Mayer scored a season-high 21 points on 8-for-10 shooting, going 5-for-5 from 3.
- Mayer ended the first half with 15 points going a perfect 6-for-6 from the floor, including 3-for-3 from behind the arc.
- Mayer matched his career high in field goals made and in 3-pointers made.
- Senior Terrence Shannon Jr. scored 16 points and tallied five rebounds.
- Shannon Jr. led all players with 12 points in the overtime period.
- Junior Coleman Hawkins scored nine points, secured a team-high seven rebounds and dished a team-high four assists.
- Hawkins has grabbed at least seven rebounds in three-straight games.
- Freshman Jayden Epps scored 11 points off the bench.
- Epps has double-digit scoring performances in four of his last five games.
- Epps forced overtime by making two clutch free throws with eight seconds left. He went 6-for-8 from the line in the contest.
STAY UPDATED: Scores | Season stats
🏆 HISTORY: Title winners | Winningest coaches | Winningest programs