Big Ten sweeps State Farm Chicago Legends as Illinois, Northwestern hold on

@ChiLegends

Big Ten sweeps State Farm Chicago Legends as Illinois, Northwestern hold on

The inaugural State Farm Chicago Legends featured Northwestern and Illinois playing a doubleheader against quality non-conference opponents in Chicago Saturday at United Center. Both games featured the Big Ten squads jumping out to early leads and holding off comeback attempts in down-to-the-wire affairs.

Northwestern (9-2) beat Dayton, 67-64, and Illinois (9-3) beat BYU, 75-73.

Game 1, FINAL: Northwestern 67, Dayton 64

Northwestern alum Craig Sager was Willie the Wildcat as an undergrad, and 2016 Willie honored Sager during the game with a replica of the jacket Sager wore at the 2016 ESPYs.

 

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Northwestern got off to a very strong start against Dayton, jumping out to an 11-0 run against the Flyers.

 

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Vic Law added some flash as the Wildcats padded their lead. The Cats held a commanding 40-17 lead at half, partly in thanks to a Dayton scoring drought that lasted over nine minutes.

 

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Nathan Taphorn (11 points) added some sizzle for Northwestern in the second half, pulling the Steph Curry-style look-away as he released a 3-pointer.

 

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Dayton stormed back in the second half, and Northwestern suffered a nine-minute drought of their own. But the Wildcats were able to hang on for the win, turning to Bryant McIntosh (13 points) in crunch time to help seal the 67-64 win to move to 9-2.

 

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Game 2, FINAL: Illinois 75, BYU 73.

Illinois led by as many as 16 in the first half, in part because of this fortunate bounce on Michael Finke’s 3-pointer. BYU stormed back and cut the halftime lead to 43-37.

 

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The second half was tight, but Tracy Abrams did his best to keep BYU at arm’s length with this ridiculous block at the rim.

 

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Illinois had one final push in them to help seal the victory, getting back-to-back buckets from Maverick Morgan and Tracy Abrams.

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BYU had a chance to win on a desperation heave at the buzzer, which came close to going in. Illinois escaped with a 75-73 victory for their fifth straight win to improve to 9-3.

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And least one couple apparently rooted for both Big Ten teams on the floor tonight, meaning they went home happy.

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