Illinois Records Dominant Win Over Duquesne to Advance to Sweet 16 for First Time Since 2005

OMAHA, Neb. – No. 3 seed Illinois dominated from start to finish in its 89-63 second-round win over 11th-seeded Duquesne at the CHI Health Center Omaha on Saturday night, securing the Fighting Illini’s first trip to the Sweet 16 since 2005.

Four scorers finished in double figures, while the Orange and Blue led by as many as 32 in the second half en route to the fourth-largest NCAA Tournament win in program history.

Terrence Shannon Jr. secured his seventh 30-point scoring effort of the season – including his third in the Illini’s last four games – while shooting 10-for-14 from the field. Shannon missed only one shot in the second half, and his 30-point performance was the third-ever for Illinois in NCAA Tournament history. He also tacked on four rebounds, four assists, and two steals.

Marcus Domask recorded his fourth consecutive game in double figures, pouring in 22 points on 56% shooting. Dishing out seven assists, his fourth outing in a row with at least seven helpers, Domask grabbed two of his three rebounds on the offensive glass and tallied a season-high two steals.

Coleman Hawkins registered 11 points, all of which came in the first half. Recording three 3-pointers, Hawkins corralled a team-best seven rebounds. He also dished out three assists and forced one steal.

Quincy Guerrier returned to double figures with a 10-point, six-rebound display while snagging four offensive boards. 

Dain Dainja totaled eight points off the bench while shooting a perfect 4-for-4 from the field, his third straight game without a miss. He also notched five rebounds.

With 13 players registering minutes in the 26-point win, Illinois secured its ninth appearance in the Sweet 16 and pushed its season win total 28, the third-most in program history.

The Illini opened the game on a 7-2 run, with Domask accounting for the Orange and Blue’s first five points of the night. Hawkins, Guerrier, and Shannon each got early shots to fall, which gave Illinois a 13-6 advantage at the first media timeout. The Illini established themselves on the boards quickly, scoring six second-chance points on four offensive rebounds through the game’s first four minutes.

Illinois added to its lead using a Shannon and-1 bucket to take a double-digit advantage, 16-6, just over six minutes in. The Dukes cut the deficit to single digits before Dainja’s driving dunk moved the Illini’s advantage back up to double figures. Duquesne then made a free throw before back-to-back 3-pointers from Hawkins in 40 seconds forced a timeout and brought the Illini’s lead up to 24-9 through eight-and-a-half minutes.

Less than one minute later, Shannon moved into double figures with his first 3-pointer of the night. Hawkins then joined Shannon with double-digit points with his third trey of the day before Domask’s layup completed a 14-2 Illini run, giving the Orange and Blue a 32-11 with just over eight minutes left in the opening frame.

Ty Rodgers and Guerrier combined to extend Illinois’ advantage up to 23 points before Duquesne answered with a 7-2 run. After the Illini went over three minutes without a field goal, Dainja corralled an offensive rebound before making the putback through contact. Domask then became the third Illini to reach the double-digit scoring mark, with his layup bringing the Orange and Blue’s edge back above the 20-point mark.

Domask’s basket sparked a 6-0 run for the Illini, which was closed out on a flush from Dainja. Spanning just over 60 seconds, that scoring stretch gave Illinois its largest lead of the first half at that point, 46-22, with two minutes left before halftime.

Leading by as many as 26, the Illini went into the break with a 50-26 advantage. Three Illini scorers – Domask (13), Shannon (12), and Hawkins (11) – recorded double-digit points through the opening 20 minutes, while the Orange and Blue capitalized on their dominant defense by scoring 15 points on seven forced turnovers.

The Dukes cut Illinois’ lead down to 20 within the first two minutes of the second half before Shannon and Guerrier recorded fast-break baskets 25 seconds apart to bring the Illini’s advantage back up to 24. Duquesne started the frame by making three of its first four 3-point attempts, but the Orange and Blue battled back with an efficient effort on the offensive end.

With the Illini’s lead at 58-37, five straight points from Shannon – an uncontested 3-pointer and a flying dunk after driving past three defenders – saw Illinois extend its edge up to 26 points, 63-37, with 14 minutes to play. The Dukes responded with an and-1 layup before the Illini pieced together a 9-0 run to take a 72-40 lead two minutes later.

Duquesne continued to battle, as the Dukes used a 7-0 run to cut their deficit to 23 with seven minutes remaining. The Illini went nearly four-and-a-half minutes without a field goal before Shannon reached the 30-point mark with a second-chance layup, extending Illinois’ edge back to 25 with six minutes to go.

Domask climbed above the 20-point mark after accounting for the Illini’s next four points, while Guerrier secured a double-digit scoring total with a dunk with just over three minutes remaining. His flush gave Illinois an 86-61 edge, while it signaled the fourth Orange and Blue scorer to reach double figures. Closing the night on a 5-2 run, the Illini punched their ticket through to the next round.

Illinois now travels to the Sweet 16 in Boston, where it will take on No. 2 seed Iowa State at the TD Garden on Thursday.




Player Notes

  • Terrence Shannon Jr. recorded 30 points, which is tied for second-most by an Illini in NCAA Tournament history, along with four rebounds, four assists, and two steals.

    • Has recorded back-to-back NCAA Tournament games with 20+ points, one shy of the Illinois record of three consecutive 20+-point games accomplished by Don Sunderlage (1951), Nick Anderson (1989), and Luther Head (2005). 

      • Shannon has scored 20+ in all three of his NCAA Tournament games as an Illini, including 20 points in Round 1 last year vs. Arkansas.

    • Shannon’s 30 points are tied for second in Illinois history in an NCAA Tournament game, matching Frank Williams vs. Kansas in 2001. He checked out of the game for the final time with 5:51 to play and finished one point shy of Illinois’ program record of 31 set by Deron Williams vs. Cincinnati in 2004. 

      • Shannon is the eighth player to score 30+ points in this season’s NCAA Tournament, and the second player to do so in the second round thus far.
      • Shannon now has seven 30+-point games this season, which is good for the second-most in a single season in program history and only one behind Nick Weatherspoon’s eight in 1973.

    • Shannon has scored 20+ points in six consecutive games, tied for the fourth-longest streak in program history, and the most since Alfonso Plummer from Nov. 26 to Dec. 11, 2021. Overall, Shannon has scored 20 or more points in eight of his last nine contests.
    • Has scored in double figures in 40 consecutive games. 
    • Went 8-for-8 from the free-throw line, his eighth game this season with a 100% mark from the stripe.
    • Made 10 field goals, his sixth game this season with double-digit makes from the field.

      • His 10 makes are also a career-best across his eight NCAA Tournament games.

  • Marcus Domask totaled 22 points, his 11th 20-point outing of the season, along with seven assists, three rebounds, and two steals.

    • Reached double-figures scoring for the fourth game in a row and in his 28th game overall this season.
    • Dished out at least seven assists for the fourth game in a row.
    • Recorded a season-high two steals. 

  • Quincy Guerrier scored 10 points and added six rebounds.

    • Tallied a double-digit scoring total for the 20th time this season.
    • Grabbed four offensive rebounds, his 13th game of the year with at least three offensive boards.

  • Coleman Hawkins scored all 11 of his points in the first half, while he added a game-high seven rebounds, three assists, and one steal.

    • Finished with three 3-pointers, his 17th game with multiple makes from beyond the arc and his second consecutive contest with 2+ triples.

      • Has 10 games with 3+ triples.

    • His 11 points and three 3-pointers are both personal bests in six career NCAA Tournament games.
    • Has at least seven rebounds in six of his last eight games.

  • Dain Dainja accumulated eight points off the bench while shooting 4-for-4 from the field and grabbing five boards.

    • Tied the Illinois program record for consecutive made field goals at 19, matching the mark set by Derek Harper (Feb. 17-23, 1983).

      • Shot 4-for-4 from the field, his third straight outing with a 100% field-goal percentage.
      • Has not missed a shot from the field since March 15 vs. Ohio State.

Team Notes

  • The Illini have advanced to the Sweet 16 of the NCAA tournament for the first time since 2005 and for the ninth time overall in program history since the tournament expanded to 32 teams in 1975.
  • Illinois improves to 28-8 on the season, the third-most wins in program history and the most in 19 years, since the 2004-05 team went 37-2 and advanced to the NCAA Tournament championship game.

    • 1. 2005 – 37 wins
    • 2. 1989 – 31 wins
    • 3. 2024 – 28 wins
    • 4. 2001 – 27 wins

  • Illinois is now 44-34 all-time in NCAA Tournament games.
  • The Illini improved to 33-16 as the higher (better) seed in the NCAA tournament and are now 5-3 all-time as a No. 3 seed, and 3-0 all-time vs. the No. 11 seed.
  • The Illini’s 89 points are their most in an NCAA Tournament game since March 26, 2005, when Illinois came from behind in historic fashion to defeat Arizona, 90-89, in overtime. 
  • The team’s 89 points are their most in regulation of an NCAA Tournament since posting 92 against Cincinnati on March 21, 2004.
  • Illinois’ 26-point margin of victory is the fourth-largest in the NCAA Tournament in program history.
  • The Illini made 11 of 13 field-goal attempts from 15:55 to 7:02 remaining in the first half, which helped them go on a 27-7 during those eight minutes.
  • Illinois’ 50 points in the first half were the most given up by Duquesne in an opening period this season. 
  • The Illini’s 50 points were also the most in team history in the first half of an NCAA Tournament game and tied for fifth-most in an NCAA tourney game overall.
  • Illinois totaled 80+ points in consecutive NCAA Tournament games for the first time since 2001-02.
  • The Illini shot 59.3% from the field, their fourth-best mark in a game this season, and the fifth-best in an NCAA Tournament game in program history.
  • Illinois made 35 field goals against Duquesne, tying the fifth-most makes in an NCAA Tournament game in Illinois program history.
  • The Illini advanced to face No. 2 seed Iowa State in Boston on Thursday. The Illini are 11-3 all-time vs. Iowa State, though the programs have played only three times in the last four decades, most recently meeting on Nov. 20, 2018, in the Maui Jim Maui Invitational.

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