|Illinois' Sam McLaurin loses control |
of the ball (AP Photo/Heather Coit)
Despite being down by 10 points at halftime, the never say die Cats were able to fight their way back to tie the score at 54-54 with 5:53 to play.
However, the Fighting Illini rallied for a 14-to-4 run that stretched the lead back to a 10-point margin. The closest the Catamounts were able to get the remainder of the game was six.
For the second consecutive game, leading scorer Trey Sumler was held to less than 10 points, but did reach the 1,000 career point milestone.
While off his pace in shooting, Sumler pulled down a game-high nine rebounds and four assists. Preston Ross led the Catamounts in scoring with 17 points, and for the third time this season scored in double figures. Brandon Boggs added 16 points off the bench, Sinclair put up 13 points and eight rebounds, while Tawaski King scored 10 points.
The Catamounts out rebounded Illinois by a margin of 41-to-34, including 18 offensive boards by both teams.
The two areas of the game that allowed the Fighting Illini to gain a victory over the Catamounts were turnovers and second-chance points. The Cats gave up 22 forced turnovers that resulted in 29 point for the Illini, while Illinois took better advantage of their offensive rebounds, scoring 22 second-chance points.
The Catamounts now return home for to host Appalachian State as part of a hoops double-header on Saturday. The Catamount women host Tennessee Tech beginning at 2:00 pm with the men's game scheduled for 4:30 pm.
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