Illinois State, Northwestern both suffer last-second heartbreak

IOWA CITY, IA - FEBRUARY 10: Iowa Hawkeyes guard Isiah Moss (4) ties up Northwestern Wildcats guard Ryan Taylor (14) during a Big Ten Conference basketball game between the Northwestern Wildcats and the Iowa Hawkeyes on February 10, 2019, at Carver-Hawkeye Arena, Iowa City, IA. (Photo by Keith Gillett/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

CHICAGO — It’s never a good thing when you look at a pair of endings to a game and wonder which one was worse.

That was the case for fans of Illinois State and Northwestern men’s basketball on Sunday night when each squad suffered a heartbreaking loss in the closing seconds of their respective games.

Redbirds fans will have an obvious reason to say their loss was worse, considering the bizarre final play that cost them a victory at Missouri State.

Illinois State led by two with 7.8 seconds left when Matt Chastain’s inbounds pass was stolen by Keandre Cook. But he couldn’t hold onto it, and the loose ball ended up around center court.

A scramble ensued for a few seconds before Jarred Dixon grabbed it on the opposite side of half court. He turned around and took a dribble before flinging it down the floor towards the hoop. It bounced off the backboard and in, giving Missouri State a 66-65 win over the Redbirds, and setting off a celebration at mid-court.

For hard-luck Illinois State, this is the second time this has happened this season. On Jan. 2, the Redbirds lost to Missouri Valley Conference rival Valparaiso on a last-second half-court shot that erased a one-point lead.

Those losses have ISU sitting at 7-5 in the MVC this season and in a tie for second place with Missouri State, with each team sitting two games back of conference-leading Loyola.

Not long after, Northwestern felt their pain, even if the shot wasn’t quite as long.

The team was seeking their biggest win of the Big Ten season to date against No. 20 Iowa when Jordan Bohannon broke the Wildcats’ hearts, knocking down a three-pointer with under a second left to give the Hawkeyes an 80-79 victory.

While that last shot was gut-wrenching, Coach Chris Collins was probably more upset with the lead his Northwestern team coughed up to get to that point.

With 3:58 to go in the game, the Wildcats had a 14-point lead, continuing what was a strong game up until that point. But Iowa had something to say on their home floor as they outscored the Wildcats 22-7 to finish out the game.

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