Illinois edges Hawai’i with overtime buzzer beater
D.J. Richardson drained a 3-pointer from the corner at the final buzzer of overtime to give Illinois a thrilling 78-77 victory over Hawai’i on Friday night.
Moments earlier, Vander Joaquim hit a turnaround jumper at the final buzzer of regulation to force the overtime.
Joaquim scored five of his 22 points in overtime. Chicago native Brandon Spearman added 20 points for the Warriors, who dropped to 3-1 with the heartbreaking loss.
Joaquim also grabbed 11 rebounds. Christian Standhardinger added 12 points and Hauns Brereton scored 10.
Jace Tavita hit one of two free throws with 7.5 seconds remaining to give Hawai’i a 77-75 lead in overtime. On Illinois’ final possession, Richardson caught the ball in the corner in front of his own bench and made the shot. The play was reviewed by officials before it was ruled good.
The Warriors led by as many as 15 points in the first half and eventually took a 41-28 lead at intermission. Spearman had 11 in the first half, and Joaquim scored 10.
Spearman hit a 3-pointer to open the second half and push the lead to 44-28, but the Illini fought back to get as close as 52-47 with 10:19 remaining. Spearman again responded, this time with a put-back dunk to give the Warriors a 55-47 lead and momentarily halt the Illinois momentum.
But the Illini mounted another late rally and took a 61-60 lead on a driving layup by Tracy Abrams with 2:59 remaining.It was the first time the entire game that Hawai’i had surrendered the lead.
The lead went back-and-forth after that, with Illinois seizing the late momentum on a 3-pointer by Brandon Paul with 1:29 remaining to give the Illini a 66-64 advantage.
The Warriors had the final possession of regulation, and Spearman was fouled but missed the front end of a one-and-one free throw. Christian Standhardinger grabbed the rebound and his putback attempt was blocked out of bounds. On the ensuing inbounds play, Joaquim scored on a turnaround jumper at the buzzer to force overtime at 66-all.
Illinois, which stopped in Honolulu to play this game before heading to the three-game Maui Invitational next week, improved to 3-0.
Hawai’i will play another home game on Tuesday, when it hosts North Dakota at 7 p.m. at the Sheriff Center.
More details, including video highlights and interviews, will be posted later.