NEW YORK – Facing ranked teams is nothing new for the orange and blue since they’ve done so in four of their last six games early in the 2022-2023 season.
Winning against teams that are high in the rankings is also something familiar for the program in the regular season, with the one they got on Tuesday night serving as one of the biggest.
In the Jimmy V Classic at Madison Square Garden, the Illini rallied from a double-digit second half deficit to beat second-ranked Texas 85-78 in overtime for their biggest victory of the season to date.
Down by ten with just under eight minutes to go, Illinois erased that deficit and then made up five points in the final minute to force overtime. During the extra session, Chicago native and former Lincoln Park High School standout Terrence Shannon Jr. took over, scoring 12 of the Illini’s 17 points to seal the victory.
The win improved the 17th-ranked Illini to 7-2 on the season with Shannon’s 16 points and Michael Mayer’s 21 leading the way for the reigning Big Ten regular season co-champions.
By knocking off the Longhorns, Illinois also continues what has been a strong run against top teams under head coach Brad Underwood during the last four regular seasons. The victory over Texas is the 11th for the program over a Top 10 opponent since the start of the 2019-2020 campaign.
It’s the second of the season for the Illini as they defeated then No. 8 UCLA 79-70 in Las Vegas on November 18th. The win is also the second against a team in the Top 2 in the rankings in the last three seasons as Illinois also knocked off second-ranked Michigan in Ann Arbor on March 2, 2021.
Now Illinois heads back to Big Ten play one more time in 2022 as they host Penn State Saturday at 11 AM in Champaign. It’s the last game against a conference opponent before full conference play starts in January.