March 13, 2008
INDIANAPOLIS (AP) - Chester Frazier's reverse layup with 3.8 seconds left gave Illinois a 64-63 win over Penn State Thursday in the first round of the Big Ten tournament.
Penn State's Talor Battle had a final shot, but his long 3-pointer bounced off the backboard to give the Fighting Illini the victory.
Battle led Penn State (15-16) with 17 points, seven rebounds and five assists, and Stanley Pringle added 13 points for the seventh-seeded Nittany Lions.
Illinois avoided its first-ever first-round loss. The Illini have won three of four heading into Friday's quarterfinal matchup with Purdue.
Pringle made a 3-pointer to cut Illinois' lead to 45-44 with about 15 minutes to play, but a 3-pointer by Frazier and a 3-point play by Randle pushed the lead back to 51-44.
A 3-pointer by Penn State's Danny Morrissey cut Illinois' lead to 56-52, but the Illini again bounced back. A pair of free throws by Randle, a layup by Demetri McCarney and a pair of free throws by Pruitt made it 62-52 with just under five minutes to play.
Penn State stormed back, and a layup by David Jackson cut Illinois' lead to 62-59.
Randle fouled out while defending Battle on a drive, and Battle made both free throws to make it 62-61. The Nittany Lions finally took their first lead of the second half on two free throws by Andrew Jones with 2:04 to play.
Frazier's winning basket was Illinois' first in nearly six minutes, and the Illini's first points since the 4:53 mark.
Illinois led 20-17 in the first half before going on an 8-0 run, including a 3-point play by Pruitt and a 3-pointer by Calvin Brock, to take a 28-17 lead.
Penn State chipped away the rest of the half. Battle's runner banked in as time ran out in the first half to cut Illinois' lead to 39-37.
The teams combined to make 11 of 19 3-pointers in the first half. Penn State shot 58 percent before the break, but trailed because Illinois had a 7-2 advantage at the free-throw line.
Penn State had won three of four, including an upset over No. 18 Indiana on Sunday. The Nittany Lions won both regular-season games against Illinois by a combined five points.
Illinois beat Penn State 66-60 in the first round last year.