Feb 26, 2014; Champaign, IL, USA; Illinois Fighting Illini fans during the second half against the Nebraska Cornhuskers at State Farm Center. Mandatory Credit: Bradley Leeb-USA TODAY Sports

On This Date In Illinois Fighting Illini History: The Comeback Versus Arizona

One March 26th, 2005, the 35-1 Illinois Fighting Illini and the 30-6 Arizona Wildcats played one of the most thrilling Elite Eight games in NCAA Tournament history.

The Illini were the top-seeded team in the entire field while the Wildcats were the 3rd-seed in the Chicago Region. Arizona knocked off the 2nd-seeded Oklahoma State Cowboys to get to the Elite Eight.

This game would be known as one of the most thrilling NCAA basketball games ever because of how the Illini had to comeback in order to get the best of Arizona in overtime.

After a close first half, the Wildcats jumped out to a 75-60 lead with just over four minutes left in the game. It would be a 20-5 run by the Illini that would help them force OT after Deron Williams hit a huge three to tie the game at 80-80.

Illinois jumped out early in overtime, but let the Wildcats come crawling back. Arizona would pull to within just one point, but Hassan Adams missed a three at the buzzer to give Illinois the win and a berth in the Final Four.

Deron Williams and Luther Head were the Illini’s leading scorers with 22 and 20 points respectively. Williams also finished with a double-double (22 points and 10 assists).

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Tags: Basketball Illinois Fighting Illini

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