Illinois drops OT game in raucous Evanston

Jan. 25—EVANSTON — The boos from the Northwestern student sections started during pregame warmups. Every time Terrence Shannon Jr. touched the ball drew a reaction.

Those boos continued into game action as Wednesday night's Big Ten rematch between Illinois and Northwestern tipped off at Welsh-Ryan Arena.

The other chant — an expected chant — was lost in the background noise through the first five minutes of the game. But a break in the action created the opportunity, with chants of "No means no!" overpowering the general quiet of the first media timeout. A chant that was repeated when Shannon went to the free throw line in the first half and gave way to one of "Lock him up!" in the second half.

Shannon's first road game following his reinstatement after a six-game suspension that came from his arrest on a rape charge drew the expected result from the opposing crowd. ButWelsh-Ryan Arena is the only other venue in the conference where chants of "I-L-L, I-N-I" can be just as loud as refrains of "Let's go 'Cats!"

Both were in equal measure Wednesday night, adding to the back-and-forth nature of a game that saw Illinois and Northwestern trade the lead 18 different times.

But the Wildcats made enough plays late to earn a 96-91 overtime win against the Illini in front of a sold-out crowd of 7,039 fans.

"That's life on the road," Illinois coach Brad Underwood said in response to a question about the chants directed at Shannon. "We get all kinds of chants. We've been in a lot of environments in this league. I had chicken wings thrown at me last year at Maryland. ... We had a chance to win a basketball game, chants or no chants."

Boo Buie started the overtime three-point barrage with the first made shot of the bonus period. Brooks Barnhizer pulled off a four-point play roughly 30 seconds later to extend Northwestern's lead, and Buie hit a dagger one minute after that to push the Wildcats' advantage to double digits and secure the win.

"There's a substantial differential in their percentages at home and on the road shooting the basketball," Underwood said. "There's a reason they've beaten who they've beaten at home. We gave ourselves an opportunity. We had the ball and a shot to win it. It didn't go down."

Illinois' inefficiency reemerged in overtime. The Illini missed their first five shots in the bonus 5 minutes and finished the game shooting 41 percent despite knocking down 11 of 24 three-pointers. Missing 20 layups and two dunks was a deciding factor in the loss. Coleman Hawkins and Marcus Domask scored 22 points apiece to lead Illinois, Quincy Guerrier had another double-double with 15 points and 11 rebounds and Shannon added 12 points in the loss.