DES MOINES – In many ways, it was a game that encompassed an entire season of basketball for one of the teams that took the floor at Wells Fargo Arena.

Unfortunately for Illinois, it led to a quick elimination from the NCAA Tournament.

Inconsistent throughout and unable to get sustained momentum, the ninth-seeded Illini trailed almost the whole way in their West Region first round game against Arkansas in Des Moines.

Despite a few late pushes, Illinois was eliminated by the Razorbacks 73-63.

Brad Underwood’s team finished the season 20-13 having made the NCAA Tournament for a third-straight year but once again failing to have a sustained run in the “Big Dance.” The Illini haven’t made an appearance in the Sweet 16 since 2005.

Arkansas led by ten points at the half as the Illini shot just 27.6 percent from the floor as they were out of rhythm on that end of the court. They’d try a few times to rally in the second half and even got the Arkansas lead down to five with 2:30 left on a dunk by RJ Melendez.

But they’d get no closer than that as the Razorbacks shut the door and put an end to Illinois’ season. It marks the first time the program has lost in the first round of an NCAA Tournament since 2009, having made it to the second round in their previous four trips.

Terrence Shannon Jr. led Illinois with 20 points with Melendez with Coleman Hawkins and Melendez getting ten points a piece. Ricky Council IV led Arkansas with 18 points as they move on to face Kansas in the second round on Saturday.