No. 3 Illinois has little trouble with No. 11 Duquesne

League: NCAA Basketball

Posted on: 24 Mar, 2024 at 06:18 AM

Credit: Dylan Widger-USA TODAY Sports

Terrence Shannon Jr. scored a game-high 30 points and Marcus Domask added 22 to help Illinois cruise past Duquesne 89-63 on Saturday in an NCAA Tournament East Region second-round game in Omaha, Neb.

Third-seeded Illinois (28-8) advanced to face No. 8 Iowa State in a regional semifinal in Boston on Thursday. The second-seeded Cyclones defeated Washington State earlier Saturday. It's Illinois' first appearance in the Sweet 16 since 2005.

"It's nice to check that box," Illinois coach Brad Underwood said of reaching the second weekend of the tournament. "We've had some really good teams and Illinois is a great program. We're excited, obviously, but we don't want this to be a coronation. We've got a lot of work to do yet."

Saturday marked the final game for Duquesne coach Keith Dambrot, who is retiring at season's end. Dambrot guided the 11th-seeded Dukes to an Atlantic 10 tournament championship to clinch the school's first NCAA Tournament berth since 1977.

An inability to stop the Fighting Illini and capitalize on second-chance opportunities doomed the Dukes (25-12). Illinois shot 59.3 percent compared to 41 percent for Duquesne. The Dukes snagged 13 offensive rebounds but managed just 10 second-chance points.

"We couldn't quite get our feet underneath us to guard them well enough to be in the game," Dambrot said. "It was actually a typical offensive game for us, but a little atypical defensively. Some of the things they do are different from what we have seen most of the year, and we had trouble guarding the ball, which was ultimately our undoing."

Coleman Hawkins (11 points) and Quincy Guerrier (10) also finished in double figures for Illinois. Shannon sparked the team with a 10-for-14 showing from the field and hit each of his eight free throws.

Dukes leading scorer Dae Dae Grant, whose 19 points sparked Duquesne to a first-round victory against sixth-seeded BYU, didn't register his first points Saturday until swishing a pair of free throws with 1:48 to go until halftime.

Jimmy Clark III paced Duquesne with 14 points and Fousseyni Drame followed with 13. Grant scored seven points, while David Dixon had eight points to go with a team-best six rebounds.

Hawkins had seven boards for Illinois and Domask contributed seven assists.

Illinois rolled to a 50-26 halftime lead behind a balanced and efficient attack.

Shannon (14 points), Domask (13) and Hawkins (11) all reached double figures in the first half on a combined 14-for-21 effort from the floor. The Fighting Illini had 11 assists on 20 first-half field goals while committing just four turnovers.

"When we guard like we did early, we can be really electric in transition," Underwood said of his team's dominant first half.

The Fighting Illini raced to a 10-point lead 6:02 into the game and led by as many as 26 points in the first half. The Dukes didn't reach double figures as a team until Drame laid in a putback of his own missed jumper with 10:57 remaining until the break.

--Field Level Media