March 8, 2007
5:56 p.m.: (Illinois 66, Penn State 60) PSU's valiant comeback attempt fell a bit short with no more three-point magic in the final minute and the Illini hitting a couple key free throws to ice the game. Be sure to catch the postgame press conference here. Illinois advances to take on Indiana in the final quarterfinal game tomorrow.
5:54 p.m.: (Illinois 63, Penn State 60) After Illinois made two free throws, Mike Walker hit yet another three from near NBA range to pull the Nittany Lions back within one score of the Illini.
5:52 p.m.: (Illinois 61, Penn State 57) Illinois took a time-out at half court with 44.3 seconds remaining in regulation and 26 left on the shot clock.
5:50 p.m.: (Illinois 60, Penn State 57) Penn State continues to hang in tough, cutting Illinois' lead to the smallest margin since the 8:28 mark of the first half.
5:45 p.m.: (Illinois 58, Penn State 53) Highlights from the stats as of now: Penn State's Mike Walker (6-8 3pt FGs, 19 points, three assists) and Illinois' duo of Chester Frazier (7-11 FGs, 19 pts.) and Warren Carter (5-8 FGs, 19 points).
5:40 p.m.: (Illinois 57, Penn State 48) The intensity level in the game has increased markably in the last couple of minutes, and shots have been falling for both sides as well, especially from behind the arc.
5:35 p.m.: (Illinois 51, Penn State 38) Illinois has answered with a 7-0 run to help stave off the PSU comeback attempt, and get the lead back into double-digits.
5:30 p.m.: (Illinois 44, Penn State 38) Penn State continues to close the gap with another three by Walker and missed free throws by Illinois.
5:22 p.m.: (Illinois 41, Penn State 33) A pair of threes by Danny Morrissey and Mike Walker has brought Penn State right back into the fray here in the second half.
5:18 p.m.: (Illinois 41, Penn State 27) Another interesting first for this year's tournament. The conference is using Precision Time System for the first time at the conference tournament. This system gives more accuracy to when the clock stops, based on a referee's whistle and was used throughout the conference all year this year.
5:15 p.m.: (Illinois 41, Penn State 25) The Illini have put together a mini-run behind Carter and Frazier where they've jumped out to their largest lead of the game.
5:05 p.m.: (Illinois 33, Penn State 23) While both squads have had some turnover issues, both have also remained relatively foul free. The two teams combine for only 12 fouls in the game approaching the first break of the second half.
5:03 p.m.: (Illinois 33, Penn State 22) Illinois has hit the second half with some hot shooting, extending its lead to 11 points for the first time in the contest. Frazier and McBride each hit shots from three to start the half.
4:56 p.m.: (Illinois 27, Penn State 22) Second half starters:
Illinois - Frazier, McBride, Carter, Randle, Pruitt
Penn State - Cornley, Walker, Claxton, Hassell, Jackson
4:42 p.m.: (Illinois 27, Penn State 22) Neither team was able to score in the final moments of the first half, but had some great attempts. The halftime entertainment for the game is the "Quick Change" show, which is always a fan favorite, and is the second act of the day that appeared on the show "America's Got Talent". If you haven't seen them before, a video clip is on YouTube.
4:40 p.m.: (Illinois 27, Penn State 22) Frazier gave another spark of inspiration for his squad with a big three pointer with time running out on the shot clock.
4:38 p.m.: (Illinois 24, Penn State 22) Penn State has solidified its defense and is keeping close to the Illini at this point. Both teams are struggling a little with turnovers at this juncture though, with Penn State logging 10 and Illinois seven.
4:30 p.m.: (Illinois 22, Penn State 16) Chester Frazier just had a beautiful end-to-end drive for a lay-up in one of the visual highlights of the first half.
4:28 p.m.: (Illinois 20, Penn State 16) Illinois' 13-1 run was just interrupted by a Milos Bogetic basket for the Lions. Brian Randle answered quickly though with a basket for the Illini to attempt to jump start another run.
4:18 p.m.: (Illinois 14, Penn State 13) Illinois roared back in the last minute or two of play to take its first lead of the game. Leading the Illini on the run was Warren Carter who picked up two three-pointers and a fieldgoal with a made free throw from Shaun Pruitt.
4:11 p.m.: (Penn State 13, Illinois 5) Some other numbers from Penn State's quick start. PSU is shooting 50% from the field (5-10) and 60% from behind the arc (3-5). The Nittany Lions also have an 8-4 edge on the boards.
4:05 p.m.: (Penn State 11, Illinois 2) The Nittany Lions' hot shooting continues with threes from Claxton and Walker to jump out to an 11-2 lead. Brian Randle finished a nice alley-oop to account for the only Illini scoring before the first break of the game.
4:02 p.m.: (Penn State 5, Illinois 2) Penn State has jumped out to a quick lead on baskets by Hassell (from three) and Jackson. They've also been clogging up the inside in the half-court game, forcing Illinois to take outside shots.
3:55 p.m.: The final game of the opening round pits Illinois against Penn State. Here are the starters:
Illinois - Chester Frazier, Rich McBride, Warren Carter, Brian Randle, Shaun Pruitt
Penn State - Jamelle Cornley, Mike Walker, Geary Claxton, Brandon Hassell, David Jackson