Chicago Sun-Times

Cold first half dooms Illini

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Shep Gar­ner scored 18 points, Pay­ton Banks added 17 and Penn State beat vis­it­ing Illi­nois 71- 67 on Satur­day.

The Illini endured two score­less stretches in the first 20 min­utes to trail 45- 25 at half­time.

“I didn’t like our dis­po­si­tion at all in the first half,” Illi­nois coach John Groce said. “I thought it was un­ac­cept­able. Just didn’t think we were re­ally good. We could be here for 30 min­utes pick­ing on a va­ri­ety of ar­eas in the first half.”

Mal­colm Hill led Illi­nois ( 13- 9, 3- 6 Big Ten) with 19 points, and Jalen Cole­man- Lands added 13. Cole­man- Lands cut the lead to 6562 with a three- pointer with 1: 58 left be­fore Gar­ner hit four free throws in the fi­nal 38 sec­onds to keep it out of reach.

Tony Carr and Mike Watkins chipped in 13 and 10 points, re­spec­tively, and Watkins pulled down nine re­bounds for the Nit­tany Li­ons ( 12- 10, 4- 5), who held on af­ter lead­ing by 20 at half­time. The win snapped a three- game skid for Penn State.

Loy­ola 81, In­di­ana State 66

Mil­ton Doyle scored 20 points, Clay­ton Custer added 15 and the hot- shoot­ing Ram­blers rolled to a wire- to- wire win.

Lead­ing 15- 10 mid­way through the first half, the vis­it­ing Ram­blers used a 14- 3 run over the next six min­utes to take a 29- 13 lead and ef­fec­tively put the game out of reach. Loy­ola led 42- 24 at the half and main­tained a dou­ble- digit lead the rest of the way.

The Ram­blers ( 16- 7, 6- 4 Mis­souri Val­ley) were 10- for- 16 from the three- point line, in­clud­ing 7- for9 in the se­cond half. They fin­ished 24- for- 46 ( 52.2 per­cent) over­all.

Bren­ton Scott and Everett Cle­mons each scored 12 points for In­di­ana State ( 7- 15, 1- 9), which has lost four straight and nine of 10.

NIU 74, Toledo 72

Marin Maric scored 15 points, Layt­wan Porter hit a clutch three- pointer and Aaric Arm­stead blocked Toledo’s fi­nal shot in a meet­ing of the top two Mid- Amer­i­can Con­fer­ence West Di­vi­sion teams.

Five play­ers reached dou­ble fig­ures for the vis­it­ing Huskies ( 13- 8, 5- 3 MAC).

The Rock­ets ( 11- 10, 4- 4) trailed 70- 61 with 2: 46 re­main­ing. But they closed the gap late as Jae­len San­ford made it 73- 72. Each team missed free throws in the last five sec­onds. Arm­stead blocked a Williams three- point shot to end the game.

Ge­or­gia Tech 62, Notre Dame 60

Josh Oko­gie made a fast- break layup as time ex­pired, Tadric Jack­son had a ca­reer- high 25 points and the host Yel­low Jack­ets ( 13- 8, 5- 4 At­lantic Coast Con­fer­ence) earned an­other sur­pris­ing vic­tory over a ranked op­po­nent.

V. J. Beachem scored 23 points for the No. 14 Fight­ing Ir­ish ( 175, 6- 3), and Bonzie Col­son had 13 points and 13 re­bounds.

Kansas 79, Ken­tucky 73

Frank Ma­son III scored 21 points, Josh Jack­son had 20 points and a pair of big three- point­ers and the No. 2 Jay­hawks ral­lied in the SEC- Big 12 Chal­lenge.

Ma­lik Monk and Derek Wil­lis each had 18 points for the No. 2 Wild­cats ( 17- 4), who dropped their se­cond straight.

Wis­con­sin 61, Rut­gers 54

Ethan Happ scored seven of his ca­reer- high 32 points in over­time for the No. 15 Badgers ( 18- 3, 7- 1 Big Ten) at Madi­son Square Gar­den.

Corey San­ders had 15 points for the Scar­let Knights ( 12- 10, 1- 8), who lost for the ninth time in 10 games.

AP

 ?? | PHOEBE SHEE­HAN/ AP ?? Guard Shep Gar­ner ( 18 points), going in for a layup against Illi­nois, hit four free throws in the fi­nal 38 sec­onds to seal the win for Penn State.
| PHOEBE SHEE­HAN/ AP Guard Shep Gar­ner ( 18 points), going in for a layup against Illi­nois, hit four free throws in the fi­nal 38 sec­onds to seal the win for Penn State.

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