Thu, 23 Mar 2023

Matthew Mayer powers Illinois past Wisconsin

Field Level Media
29 Jan 2023, 08:55 GMT+10

Matthew Mayer scored 18 of his career-high 26 points in the second half as surging Illinois pulled away for a 61-51 victory over host Wisconsin on Saturday in Madison, Wis.

Illinois (15-6, 6-4 Big Ten) gained control with a 19-2 run, pushing its lead to 56-39 with just over four minutes remaining in the second half. The Fighting Illini went on to record their sixth victory in seven games.

Wisconsin (12-8, 4-6) has lost six of seven games since reaching No. 14 in the poll.

Mayer, a grad transfer from Baylor, made 9 of 19 shots from the floor and 5 of 11 from 3-point range.

Jayden Epps added 13 points for Illinois, which has won six straight versus Wisconsin -- including a 79-69 victory in the first meeting on Jan. 7 that started the Badgers' slide.

Chucky Hepburn had 12 points and Max Klesmit, who missed the previous two games with an injury, added 12 of his own.

The Illini snapped a 37-37 tie by making four of five shots to fuel a 10-point run. After a layup by Steven Crowl, Mayer hit a 3-pointer to trigger another nine-point spurt.

Wisconsin erased a 12-point deficit with a 15-2 run, hitting four 3-pointers. Hepburn scored on a drive to put the Badgers up 35-34 with 11:32 remaining.

Illinois opened the second half with a 12-4 run, going in front 32-20 on a three-point play by Mayer.

Illinois led 20-16 after a first half reminiscent of the peach basket era.

Wisconsin made just 6 of 33 shots in the opening half, including 3 of 14 beyond the arc. Illinois was 9 of 27, including 2 of 10 from deep.

Neither team reached double digits until Klesmit's 3-pointer put the Badgers up 10-7 more than 11 minutes into the game.

Wisconsin went almost six minutes between its first and second field goal, hitting just 2 of its first 15 shots before Carter Gilmore banked in a 3-pointer from the top to put the Badgers up 8-7 with just over 10 minutes remaining in the half.

Illinois connected on 3 of its first 14 shots before a dunk by Dain Dainja cut the lead to 10-9.

--Field Level Media

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