College basketball: No. 2 Michigan succumbs to No. 4 Illinois


The Associated Press



Michigan guard Eli Brooks (55) tries to pass under pressure from Illinois guard Andre Curbelo (5) during Tuesday night's game in Ann Arbor, Mich. (AP photo)

Michigan guard Eli Brooks (55) tries to pass under pressure from Illinois guard Andre Curbelo (5) during Tuesday night's game in Ann Arbor, Mich. (AP photo)


ANN ARBOR, Mich. — Andre Curbelo scored 11 of his 17 points in the first half, and No. 4 Illinois dismantled No. 2 Michigan with a smothering defensive performance, routing the Wolverines 76-53 on Tuesday night.

Playing again without injured star Ayo Dosunmu, the Illini (19-6, 15-4) kept Michigan from clinching the Big Ten title and boosted their own chances at a No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament. Trent Frazier led Illinois with 22 points, and Kofi Cockburn added 12.

Eli Brooks scored 11 points and was the only player in double figures for Michigan. The Wolverines (18-2, 13-2) looked physically overwhelmed for much of the night, unable to create good shots against the Illinois defense and unable to keep the Illini off the boards. It was an eye-opening blowout — especially since Michigan has rolled to similar margins of victory against other good teams this season.

Both teams had a hard time scoring in the first half, but Curbelo’s ability to drive to the basket helped Illinois to a 33-22 lead at the break. Then the Illini kept pouring it on.

Illinois outscored Michigan 22-5 in second-chance points and held the Wolverines to 35% shooting from the field.

The Big Ten confirmed before the game that it will use winning percentage to determine the league champion. Michigan can still wrap that up with a win in either of its last two games — or if Illinois loses its last game this weekend.

Central Michigan 81, Toledo 79

MT. PLEASANT, Mich. — Caleb Huffman scored 26 points and Meikkel Murray made a go-ahead putback with 2.3 seconds left as Central Michigan (7-15, 3-12 Mid-American Conference) ended its eight-game losing streak, narrowly defeating Toledo (19-7, 14-4).

Murray finished with 24 points and nine rebounds, and Ralph Bissainthe had 11 points and 10 rebounds for Central Michigan.

Ryan Rollins had 17 points and six rebounds for the Rockets. Spencer Littleson added 16 points, and Marreon Jackson had 15 points and 14 rebounds.

Buffalo 80, Akron 78

BUFFALO, N.Y. — Jayvon Graves had a triple-double with 13 points, 11 assists and 10 rebounds to lead Buffalo (13-7, 11-5 MAC) to a win against Akron (14-7, 12-6).

Josh Mballa had 15 points and nine rebounds for Buffalo, which won its fourth consecutive game. Ronaldo Segu added 14 points and Jeenathan Williams had 13.

Mballa dunked it with 18 seconds left for a six-point lead.

Loren Cristian Jackson had 27 points for the Zips.

Georgetown 72, Xavier 66

WASHINGTON — Chudier Bile had 16 points and 11 rebounds to lead Georgetown (9-11, 7-8 Big East Conference) to a win against Xavier (13-6, 6-6). KyKy Tandy had 14 points for the Musketeers.

No. 3 Baylor 94,

No. 6 West Virginia 89 (OT)

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — Jared Butler scored 25 points before fouling out, Davion Mitchell hit the go-ahead basket in overtime and Baylor (19-1, 11-1) beat West Virginia (17-7, 10-5) to clinch the Bears’ first Big 12 regular season championship.

Baylor bounced back in a big way from its only loss of the season at No. 13 Kansas on Saturday. Baylor struggled in its two previous games coming off a nearly three-week layoff because of COVID-19 issues in the program.

After managing just 58 points against the Jayhawks, the Bears maintained their energy and scoring touch until the very end against the Mountaineers.

Baylor coach Scott Drew jumped on Mark Vital’s back and pointed a finger in the air after the title was secure. Butler ran onto the court to hug every teammate in sight.

Mitchell scored four of Baylor’s 13 points in overtime and finished with 20. Matthew Mayer had a season-high 18 points for the Bears.

Taz Sherman came off the bench to score a career-high 26 points for the Mountaineers. Miles McBride added 19 points and Sean McNeil scored 18, including 15 after halftime.

West Virginia managed just one field goal in overtime.

Baylor jumped out to a quick double-digit lead and for a time the game was looking like a rout. But the Bears went scoreless for nearly six minutes before halftime, allowing West Virginia to keep it close the rest of the game.

Butler’s layup with 2.7 seconds left in regulation sent the game into overtime tied at 81. But he fouled out with 1:15 remaining in overtime and West Virginia’s Taz Sherman hit one of two free throws to put the Mountaineers ahead 89-88.

Mitchell’s layup with 59 seconds left in overtime put Baylor ahead to stay. He then took a charge against McBride with 27 seconds left, and Mitchell hit two free throws with 18 seconds left for the final margin.

Michigan guard Eli Brooks (55) tries to pass under pressure from Illinois guard Andre Curbelo (5) during Tuesday night's game in Ann Arbor, Mich. (AP photo)
https://www.limaohio.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/54/2021/03/web1_illinoisonline.jpgMichigan guard Eli Brooks (55) tries to pass under pressure from Illinois guard Andre Curbelo (5) during Tuesday night's game in Ann Arbor, Mich. (AP photo)

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