Rapid Reaction: Illinois 51, Minnesota 49

March, 14, 2013
3/14/13
2:26
PM ET

 
CHICAGO -- Here's a quick look at Illinois' 51-49 win over Minnesota in the first round of the Big Ten tournament Thursday at United Center.

How it happened: Illinois senior guard Brandon Paul hit a fadeaway, mid-range jumper at the buzzer to give the Illini the win. Illinois led by 12 points in the first half, but surrendered the lead when Minnesota opened the second half on a 20-9 run and went ahead 36-34. The Illini trailed the rest of the game until D.J. Richardson hit a 3-pointer with 44 seconds left to tie the game at 49. Illinois forced a turnover with 14.6 seconds left to gain possession for Paul's game-winner. Austin Hollins led Minnesota with 16 points.

What it means: Illinois and Minnesota both still may make the NCAA tournament, but the Illini have to feel much better about their chances after Thursday's win. The Illini hadn't won a Big Ten tournament game since 2010.

Player of the game: Paul scored a game-high 25 points on 10-of-16 shooting. He was the only Illini player with more than six points. He also had five rebounds and two assists.

What's next: The Illini will play Indiana, who had a first-round bye, in the quarterfinals at 11 a.m. CT Friday.
Scott Powers is a general reporter for ESPNChicago.com. He is an award-winning journalist and has been reporting on preps, colleges and pros for publications throughout the Midwest since 1997.

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