Highly touted freshman guard Romeo Langford poured in a career-high 28 points to lead No. 21 Indiana to a 73-65 Big Ten victory over Illinois on Thursday night in Bloomington, Ind.
After the Hoosiers (12-2, 3-0) had to rally to pull into a 32-32 halftime knot, Langford scored the first eight points of the second half to set the tone for Indiana’s seventh win in a row. Senior forward Juwan Morgan added 15 points and 10 rebounds in Indiana’s first game since Dec. 22.
Illinois (4-10, 0-3) received 20 points from Ayo Dosunmu, another five-star freshman guard matched with Langford much of the night, along with 18 points and seven rebounds from freshman center Giorgi Bezhanishvili. The Illini committed season-high 21 turnovers.
Indiana took an early lead, but Illinois drilled six consecutive shots to grab a 20-13 lead on junior guard Andres Feliz’s three-point play at the 12:45 mark of the first. Feliz’s move was part of a 10-0 Illini run capped by sophomore guard Da’Monte Williams’ 3-pointer that gave Illinois a 25-15 lead with 10:20 left in the half.
Indiana gradually reeled in the visitors and pulled even on sophomore forward Justin Smith’s putback at the halftime buzzer.
When the second half began, Langford continued to attack the basket against Illinois’ overplaying man-to-man defense. He sank a jumper in the lane, split a pair of free throws, drove for a transition layup and turned a second chance into a three-point play to give Indiana a 40-32 lead with 16:29 to play.
While Illinois alternated between committing turnovers and missing shots, Indiana extended its lead all the way to 55-40 on Morgan’s layup with 8:31 left.
Illinois reeled off eight points in a row — sparked by Dosunmu’s breakaway layup and a 3-pointer - to pull within 62-58 with 2:29 to go. Indiana answered with two free throws by sophomore guard Aljami Durham, Smith’s transition layup set up by Langford and another Durham free throw.
—Field Level Media