Huskies send Illini home in thriller
San Diego, CA (Sports Network) – Bobby Jones broke a tie game by hitting two
free throws with 58.6 seconds left and Washington held off Illinois down the
stretch to earn a hard-fought 67-64 victory in a Washington bracket second-
round game of the NCAA Tournament.
Brandon Roy recorded a game-high 21 points for the Huskies (26-6), who blew a
14-point first-half lead, then rallied from an 11-point deficit in the second
to reach the Sweet 16 for the second consecutive year.
Fifth-seeded Washington, which will be appearing in back-to-back regional
semifinals for the first time in school history, will face either top-seeded
Connecticut or Kentucky Friday in the nation’s capital.
James Augustine scored 19 points and fellow senior Dee Brown had 15 for the
fourth-seeded Fighting Illini (26-7), which was attempting to reach the Sweet
16 for the third year in a row. Rich McBride added 13 points in defeat.
“It was a fun ride, but right now it just doesn’t feel that good,” said
Illinois had a chance to send the game into overtime after Jones made 1-of-2
foul shots with 12.8 seconds left to extend Washington’s margin to just three
points. Following an Illini timeout, Brown missed badly on a long three-point
try as time expired.
Washington ended 28-of-39 from the charity stripe for the game, while Illinois
went just 9-of-11 and attempted only two free throws in the second half.
“We got into so much foul trouble that we had mixed up lineups,” said Illinois
head coach Bruce Weber. “No one knew their position and we lost opportunities.
When you don’t have the guys in the lineup, you can’t execute what you want to
The Illini appeared to be firmly in control, holding a 58-49 lead after Brown
buried a deep three with under seven minutes left to play. However, the
Huskies dug deep and put together a 12-2 run to forge back ahead.
The key play of the spurt came when Brown fouled Justin Dentmon as the
freshman drilled a three-pointer with 4:12 remaining. Dentmon sank the
subsequent bonus attempt to complete the rare four-point play and cut UW’s
deficit to 60-58.
Roy weaved through a crowd and scored less than a minute later to tie the
score before Jamaal Williams ended the burst by making 1-of-2 from the line
with 2:54 to go.
McBride hit a pull-up jumper to put Illinois back in front and Dentmon made a
foul shot to knot the game at 62-62 heading into the final minute.
“When (Illinois) made their (earlier) run, coach (Lorenzo Romar) came to us
and said, ‘Look, this is their run, now let’s make ours,” said Roy. “I think
we did a great job of answering the bell.”
Jones went to the line after being fouled by Augustine upon collecting an
offensive rebound. The senior forward calmly sank both attempts for the two-
Williams then stepped in front of Augustine and intercepted Jamar Smith’s pass
with under 30 seconds to go, and Dentmon was fouled and converted both tries
for a 66-62 lead.
Two Brown free throws with 15.5 seconds left brought Illinois within two, and
Jones left the door open by missing his second foul shot and Augustine grabbed
the carom. However, Brown couldn’t get a good shot off with a defender in his
face and time winding down.
“We were trying to double down and have them come out, but (Washington)
switched everything so I had to take the shot,” said Brown.
Illinois couldn’t buy a bucket for most of the first half and trailed 32-20
with under 2 1/2 minutes remaining before the break. The Illini then hit their
next eight field goal attempts and closed out the period with a 13-2 run to
get back into it.
Augustine started the rally with a three-point play and added two inside
buckets off feeds from McBride, the latter cutting Washington’s lead to 33-30
with under a minute left in the half.
Jones’ second-chance bucket with 17 seconds left put the Huskies back up by
five, but Brown drained a three-pointer just before the buzzer to make it a
35-33 game at intermission.
That momentum carried into the second half, as the Illini outscored Washington
14-2 over the first five minutes of the session. McBride knocked down back-to-
back three-pointers to put Illinois up 45-37 and Augustine followed with a
layup to give his club a double-digit cushion with around 15 minutes to go.
The Huskies assumed control early on, reeling off 14 straight points to build
a 25-12 lead with just under six minutes to go in the first half. Ryan Appleby
sparked the flurry with a pair of three-pointers.
Dentmon ended with 13 points for Washington…Augustine went 7-of-9 from the
field and added nine rebounds…Illinois had reached the Sweet 16 in four of
the previous five NCAA Tournaments…The Huskies were beaten by Louisville in
the semifinals of last year’s Albuquerque bracket as a no. 1 seed…The two
teams hadn’t met since 1991, when Illinois earned a 76-55 win over Washington
in the championship game of the Illini Classic.