CHAMPAIGN, Ill. – Indiana had no one near Illinois' Tyler Griffey when the forward hit a layup right before the buzzer to secure the Illini's 74-72 upset win over the No. 1 Hoosiers.
Indiana (20-3, 8-2 Big Ten) let a 41-29 halftime lead slip away, and the Hoosiers were outscored 13-2 in the final 3:33 at Illinois' Assembly Hall.
While the final two points came off an inbounds pass with 0.9 second left, IU coach Tom Crean said he wouldn't change anything he did after Victor Oladipo recovered from a turnover to block a layup attempt and nearly force overtime.
"It was a broken play for them, we were not going to give them a chance to win the game on a lob," Crean said. "They were out of timeouts, we had two. I wouldn't change that for a second, looking back and calling a timeout there.
"We just didn't communicate. We didn't communicate well. We didn't communicate the switch there at the end."
Griffey's layup brought most of the student section out of the stands as the officials reviewed the shot before determining it went it before time expired.
Illinois coach John Groce said the layup was one of the options on the play.
"We couldn't draw it up, we didn't have a timeout," Groce said. "We went with one we felt like our guys knew well. I didn't want to roll the dice and try to do something that was out of character. I thought Brandon (Paul, who passed the ball to Griffey), you know my old coach at Taylor University used to say, 'The best inbounders have the guts of a burglar.' And he had it."
Indiana had the ball with 37 seconds to play with the game tied at 72, but the Hoosiers never got a chance to attempt a shot.
Oladipo let the clock run down before he started his attack, but he had it stolen away by Illinois' D.J. Richardson.
"We didn't stay with the movement that we needed to have," Crean said of the final offensive play. "We wanted to make it a one-possession, and we did not want to have to call a timeout.
"We wanted to keep the game in movement, and if we didn't get what we wanted, we wanted to get something down the middle of the floor. We went about the right time, but we didn't keep the game in movement enough."
Though Oladipo recovered and block Richardson's layup attempt to set of the final inbounds pass that led to the Illini's winning layup at the buzzer, Crean was in no mood to talk about the junior guard's defensive play.
Indiana's Jeremy Hollowell hit 2 of 2 three-pointers in the loss. Those were his first three-pointers since the Hoosiers' 87-51 win over Coppin State on Dec. 1. He entered the game 3 for 22 on three-pointers.
Indiana will likely lose the No. 1 ranking it took over Monday after the loss to Illinois. It will be the sixth straight week a new No. 1 team will be crowned.
But before next Monday's poll comes out, the Hoosiers will have to rebound from the loss at the buzzer to Illinois, and it will not be easy to get back on the winning track.
Indiana travels to play Ohio State to take on the No. 10 Buckeyes and the Big Ten's leading scorer and former Bishop Luers star Deshaun Thomas, who averages 19.9 points.
"We got to go back to the drawing board and figure out what we did wrong," IU forward Cody Zeller said. "We can't relax at all. We got to get it fixed."
- Illinois' D.J. Richardson scored a game-high 23 points, including eight straight points in the closing minutes that tied the game at 70 with 1:19 to play.
- Zeller had 14 points and nine rebounds to lead the Hoosiers' offense.
- Will Sheehey came off the bench to score 13 for IU. The junior forward was hit with a technical foul after he screamed in Griffey's face after Sheehey's dunk with 1:29 left in the first half put the Hoosiers ahead 39-25.
- Christian Watford (12) and Jordan Hulls (11) also scored in double digits for IU.
- Paul had 21 points for Illinois, and Griffey added 14.
- Indiana's Jeremy Hollowell hit 2 of 2 three-pointers in the loss. Those were his first three-pointers since the Hoosiers' 87-51 win over Coppin State on Dec. 1. He entered the game 3 for 22 on three-pointers.
"They are really good. They are well coached. They've got great personnel. They run great stuff. They defend. They've got really good players. They are very well prepared. They won a lot of games, and the are going to continue to win a lot of games. We feel very fortunate to have beaten a really good Indiana basketball team."
– Groce, Illinois coach, on Indiana