The Official Website of the Southeastern Conference
The Official Website of the Southeastern Conference
Men's Basketball Championship - West Region - 1st Round - Wells Fargo Arena (IA) - Des Moines, IA

Hogs finish off Illinois to advance in NCAA tourney

200 days ago
Arkansas Athletics
Photo: Arkansas Athletics

DES MOINES, IA - The 8th-seeded Arkansas Razorbacks took down the 9th-seeded Fighting Illini 75-65 in the First Round of the NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament on Thursday afternoon. Arkansas used a 10-0 second half run and then held off a late Illinois run to advance to the NCAA Second Round to take on defending national champion and No. 1 seed Kansas on Saturday.

Arkansas' first half defense was key in the win, holding the Illini to just 8-of-29 shooting (27.6%) to help build a 10-point lead at the break. Nine Illinois turnovers led to 13 Arkansas points with Anthony Black and Devo Davis each recording a pair of steals. While the Hogs were shining on the defensive end, Ricky Council IV was making the difference at the free throw line. Council sank 5-of-6 from the charity stripe and scored 10 total points in the first half.

Illinois quickly trimmed the Arkansas lead to five early in the second half but Arkansas responded with a 10-point run to push the lead to 15. A seven-point Illini run in the final five minutes again trimmed the Hogs' lead to five points. Council, however, iced the game himself, scoring the next six Arkansas points to put the game out of reach.

The Razorbacks' free throw shooting in the second half sealed the game as the Hogs went 15-for-17 with Council going 6-for-6.

Council led Arkansas with 18 points, including 11-of-12 from the free throw line, to go with a team-high 10 rebounds. Davis chipped in 16 points and Black 12.