Miami coach Jim Larranaga earned his 650th career win as the Hurricanes rushed out to a 27-point first-half lead and then held on for an 81-79 victory over Illinois on Monday night in ACC/Big Ten Challenge in Champaign, Ill.
Junior point guard Chris Lykes produced 18 of his career-high-tying 28 points in the first half for Miami (5-3), but his biggest play of the night came when he drew a charge from Illinois sophomore guard Ayo Dosunmu with 2.7 seconds left and the Illini trailing 80-79.
Senior shooting guard Dejan Vasiljevic delivered 20 points on 6-of-9 3-point shooting, while junior guard Kameron McGusty added 13 points as the Hurricanes shot 59.3 percent from the field, including 55.6 percent on 3-pointers.
Freshman 7-footer Kofi Cockburn paced Illinois (6-2) with a career-high-tying 23 points. Junior guard Trent Frazier contributed 14 points and Dosunmu added 12.
Miami didn’t take long to silence State Farm Center. After Andres Feliz gave Illinois a 5-3 lead on a jumper at the 18:26 mark, the Hurricanes unleashed a 20-2 run as they capitalized on eight Illinois turnovers to set up continual open shots at the other end. Freshman guard Isaiah Wong’s jumper with 12:16 left capped the run and gave Miami a 23-7 lead.
Illinois coach Brad Underwood used his last timeout after Vasiljevic buried a 30-footer to give the Hurricanes a 43-18 lead with 5:19 left in the half.
When Lykes flushed a jumper on Miami’s next possession, the Hurricanes pushed the lead to 27 points while shooting 18 of 23 from the field.
Illinois sliced the margin to 17 in the final minute of the first half, but McGusty drove for a layup to give Miami a 50-31 halftime lead.
When Vasiljevic swished his fifth 3-pointer of the night, Miami rebuilt a 22-point advantage (62-40) with 16:18 left. Illinois slowly chipped away and, when Lykes picked up his fourth foul with 12:30 left trying unsuccessfully to draw a charge, Miami led 67-50.
Lykes returned to the fray with 7:40 left and Miami holding a 71-58 lead, but Illinois kept rolling. When sophomore guard Alan Griffin cashed a pair of free throws with 5:52 to go, Illinois capped a 16-2 run to get within 71-66.
A driving layup by Feliz cut Miami’s edge to 80-79 with 48.9 seconds remaining. Lykes missed a drive, but made up for it when he stepped in front of Dosunmu’s drive with 2.7 seconds left.
—Field Level Media