The Illinois basketball team didn’t show up against the Florida Atlantic Owls in what should have been a simple game for the Orange and Blue.
From the start, this game was close. At one time early on, Illinois extended the lead to 14-8. There was still over 12 minutes to go in the first half, so Florida Atlantic had plenty of time to narrow the margin. The Owls then went on an 11-3 run to take the lead 19-17. This was the first time where I thought this game might not end up the way I had hoped.
Illinois would get the lead back 23-21 with 5:40 left in the first half. After that bucket by Trent Frazier, there was only one more score the rest of the way into the halftime break. Ayo Dosunmu nailed a three-pointer and the Illini went into the locker room up 26-21.
As you all probably know, the rest of the game didn’t go the way of the Illini. At the 14:06 mark, the Owls took the lead 32-30. Illinois wouldn’t get the lead back the rest of the half. Florida Atlantic even got the lead up to nine points at one time. But, down six with 1:04 left in the game, Illinois fought back. Frazier hit a three-pointer and made two free throws to get the score to 61-60. Florida Atlantic made a two and then Ayo hit a game-tying three-pointer to go to overtime.
Overtime was ugly for the Illini. The Orange and Blue couldn’t make a shot at the end, and Illinois lost the game 73-71.
Here are five observations from the Illini loss to Florida Atlantic.