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Archive for Friday, January 21, 2005

Illinois survives Iowa in OT

January 21, 2005

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— Illinois started the game intent on giving James Augustine and Roger Powell Jr. a chance to attack Iowa inside. When the big guys couldn't put it in the basket, Luther Head took over.

Head scored 25 points and his driving layup with 40 seconds remaining in overtime sealed No. 1 Illinois' 73-68 win over Iowa on Thursday night.

"I'm really tired. I can't wait to go home," Head said.

Head scored 12 straight points during one stretch and had six steals and six rebounds as Illinois (19-0, 5-0 Big Ten Conference) overcame its worst shooting night of the season and a late comeback by No. 23 Iowa.

The Hawkeyes (13-4, 1-3) battled back from a 13-point deficit early in the second half and outscored Illinois 7-1 in the final 1:06 to force the extra period. Illinois managed just six free throws and Head's layup in overtime.

"I thought our defense was outstanding, but in the overtime they made six free throws and we made one," Iowa coach Steve Alford said. "It really came down to the foul line."

Illinois was 23-of-31 from the free-throw line while Iowa was just 6-of-12, and the Illini won the battle of the boards, especially on the offensive end where they held an 18-9 advantage.

"They killed us on the boards tonight," said Pierre Pierce who played all 45 minutes and led the Hawkeyes with 22 points. "They had a lot of tip-ins at crucial points in the game and we couldn't finish at the free-throw line."

Greg Brunner's drive to the hoop tied the score at 65-65 with 3.8 seconds remaining and came after Dee Brown missed one of two free throws for the Illini. Brunner finished with 16 points and 11 rebounds.

With Deron Williams in foul trouble, Head also drew the defensive assignment on Pierce in the second half. Pierce scored 12 points over Head, but he missed a 3-pointer that would have tied the game with 5.6 seconds left in overtime.

San Francisco 73, No. 11 Gonzaga 70

San Francisco -- Jerome Gumbs had 18 points and a career-high 13 rebounds, and San Francisco snapped a 12-game losing streak to Gonzaga. The Dons improved to 9-0 at home this season behind 10 three-pointers, but they had to hold off a furious comeback attempt in the closing minutes. USF (11-6, 2-2 West Coast Conference) defeated a Top-20 opponent for the first time since an 82-69 victory over No. 13 Xavier on Nov. 28, 1998, in the Puerto Rico Shootout.

Derek Raivio scored seven straight points in the final two minutes for the Zags (13-4, 3-2), who pulled to 72-70 on David Pendergraft's 3-pointer with 11.3 seconds left.

DePaul 85, No. 25 Marquette 72

Rosemont, Ill. -- Sammy Mejia scored a career-high 26 points and DePaul used a tough defense and 21 offensive rebounds to beat No. 25 Marquette.

Lorenzo Thompson added a career-high 17 points and Quemont Greer had 15 for the Blue Demons (11-4, 3-1 Conference USA.)

Dameon Mason's 24 points paced Marquette (14-3, 2-2) in a rough and physical 100th meeting between the schools.

Marquette's leading scorer Travis Diener, averaging 20.8 points, managed just 15 against LeVar Seals, seven of those point coming in the final two minutes. Golden Eagles forward Steve Novak was limited to just five, eight under his average and was held without a three-pointer for the first time in 33 games.

DePaul smothered Marquette in the first seven minutes of the second half, holding the Golden Eagles to just two baskets while building on a seven-point halftime lead.

Mejia hit a baseline jumper, Greer banked in a shot and then Mejia sank a three-pointer off the break, putting the Blue Demons up 48-36.

After a timeout, DePaul's Drake Diener broke down the Marquette defense, drove the lane and dished to the 6-foot-8, 260-pound Thompson for a layup and a 14-point lead.

Travis Diener's three-pointer minutes later got Marquette back to within eight but his cousin, Drake, answered with one if his own to put it back to 11.

After a follow by Draelon Burns and a turnaround jumper by Greer, the lead sailed to 15 with 9 minutes to play.

Marquette clipped it to nine but Thompson hit a pair of free throw and then hit a basket as he was falling down and the Golden Eagles' comeback chances were finished. Thompson had 15 of his points in the second half.

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