Skip to main content

SCOREBOARD

Illinois finally gets past opening weekend of March Madness with rout of Duquesne

Published

OMAHA, Neb. -- — Terrence Shannon Jr. scored 30 points, Marcus Domask added 22 and No. 3 seed Illinois made fast work of 11th-seeded Duquesne in an 89-63 victory Saturday night to reach the NCAA Tournament's Sweet 16 for the first time since 2005.

Illinois (28-8) hadn't made it through the first weekend of the tournament in eight previous appearances, a maddening run of frustration the Illini ended in resounding fashion.

The Illini will play No. 2 seed Iowa State in an East Region semifinal in Boston on Thursday night. The Cyclones advanced with a 67-56 victory over seventh-seeded Washington State.

Duquesne (25-12), which came in on a nine-game win streak, had its first tournament appearance since 1977 end with its worst loss of the season that sent 65-year-old coach Keith Dambrot into retirement.

Jimmy Clark III scored 14 points and Fousseyni Drame had 13 for Duquesne.

The Dukes, who had scored fewer than 70 points in 21 of their previous 36 games, had said they would have to slow down an Illinois team averaging better than 84 per game to have a chance.

How did that go? Illinois was off and running in transition on Duquesne misses. The Illini led 50-26 at the half and by 32 points midway through the second half.

Not that the Illini needed it, but they also got a couple friendly bounces. Like when Marcus Domask's first 3-pointer went high off the front and back of the rim before it dropped through — a basket he celebrated with a chef's kiss and three fingers in the air. Or when Hawkins tried to draw a foul as he awkwardly put up a 3 and the ball banged off the backboard without drawing iron and he chased it down for an easy putback.

Hawkins blew a kiss himself after one of his back-to-back 3s midway through the first half. By then it was pretty much over. The Illini's 24-point halftime lead was their second-largest of the season and was the Dukes' biggest deficit at the break since they were down 27 against Kentucky in 2016.

Dambrot ends his career with a 529-305 record in 26 seasons, including 441-269 at Division I schools Duquesne, Central Michigan and Akron.

UP NEXT

Illinois and Iowa State will play in the NCAA Tournament for the first time. Illinois has won nine of the last 12 meetings but lost the last two, in 2018 and 2015.