The Clemson Tigers took down Illinois in the second round of the NIT 50 to 49. The best three-point field goal shooting defense in the country showed it off Sunday afternoon as Clemson held Illinois to just 14.3% from three. Illinois struggled shooting all day, but it was their inability to make threes that did them in. Clemson shot only 18.2% from three, but they only took 11 of them. In comparison, the Fighting Illini took 21.
It was a missed three that sealed the game when Tracy Abrams took a long three with under five seconds to try and win the game. Abrams' shot was short and landed out of bounds with 1.7 seconds left. Clemson threw a long pass down court that ended up being tipped in the air and Illinois couldn't retrieve it and throw a prayer up.
While the offense struggled from three, it was the Illinois defense that kept them in this game. Clemson shot 48.8% from the field, but turned the ball over 14 times. Illinois' eight steals led to some easy buckets in the second half.
Rayvonte Rice led the way for Illinois scoring 15 points while adding four steals and rebounds. Jon Ekey was the second leading scorer for the Fightin Illini scoring 11 on 3 three pointers, the only ones his team would make Sunday.
Three Clemson players scored in double figures. Landry Nnoko was a solid force down low scoring 11 points, K.J. McDaniels had some big dunks and ended with 12, and finally Jordan Roper scored 10.
Illinois ends the season 20-15 while Clemson will go on to play Belmont Tuesday on ESPN.