The No. 7 seed Illinois Fighting Illini looked primed to cruise past the 10-seed Colorado Buffaloes on Friday afternoon. Executing on both ends of the floor and taking advantage of CU's miscues, Illinois had it going early on.
Then, the second half came.
Illinois went scoreless for 11 minutes 29 seconds after draining a pair of free throws 31 seconds into the second half. What was once a 16-point lead at halftime evaporated due to horrible shot selection and turnovers. The Illini responded though, hitting a trio of three-pointers in a matter of 90 seconds for a 9-0 run to retake the lead. Led by guard Brandon Hall, who had 16 points, Illinois came out on top with the 57-49 win.
Colorado appeared to just run out of gas down the stretch. The really had to scratch and claw to come back from the 16-point deficit, and a handful of turnovers late in the half would prove to be their undoing. Askia Booker led CU with 14 points, while freshman forward Josh Scott had eight points and brought down 13 rebounds.
With the win, Illinois moves on to face the No. 2 Miami Hurricanes in the third round on Sunday. The winner of this game moves onto the Sweet 16.