The seventh-seeded Terriers had a seven point lead over Illinois with just under four minutes to play, but couldn’t seal the deal in the National Invitational Tournament. BU lost, 66-62, to the second-seeded Illini on Wednesday evening and their season is now over.
Illinois’ Rayvonte Rice was the spark plug in the game-winning rally; he had a steal, a 3-point play, and hit two additional free throws to put his team ahead one point in the waning moments. Rice would also tack on an insurance layup and Illinois held on for the victory.
“I’m proud of our kids for not getting discouraged when you’re on the road and you’re down…” Illinois coach John Groce said after the game.
Rayvonte Rice led his team with 28 points and eight rebounds in the winning effort. The leading point-getter for Boston U. was D.J. Irving with 17, and he had the unenviable task of guarding Rice.
Irving said of Rice after the game, “He’s a strong kid and pretty skilled. He took control of the game down the stretch.”
Illinois moves on to the second round of the NIT to face three-seed Clemson.