Minnesota put a dent in the Illinois basketball team’s NCAA Tournament hopes Saturday afternoon, as Tubby Smith’s Gopher squad defeated the Illini at the Assembly Hall, 62-60.
The Illini — who scored just 14 points in the first half — were down by 19 points with 7:11 remaining in the game, and they fought back to within one with less than a minute to go.
“I was confident that we had a chance,” freshman guard D.J. Richardson said. “We had a big chance kind of like we did against Clemson earlier in the year. We had a lot of games where we came back. When we put our hands up in the huddle, (Coach Weber) kept saying ‘believe’ and we kept saying ‘believe,’ and we started believing as a team that we were going to come back.”
But Richardson was unable to convert on a last-second shot just inside the arc that would have tied the game.
“I was supposed to shoot off the three, but I took an extra dribble,” Richardson said. “It happens, I guess.”