BLOOMINGTON, Ind. — Indiana went to overtime with the No. 12 team in the country and didn't score its first points in the extra period until there were 7.2 seconds left.
The Hoosiers became indecisive with the ball in their hands, and Trayce Jackson-Davis continued to struggle to find his way around Kofi Cockburn.
The Illini out-hustled Indiana to numerous loose balls in the waning moments, and as a result, the Hoosiers dropped another home game, this time in overtime, 75-71.
"Our team is not tough enough to finish games right now," head coach Archie Miller said. "That's why we're in so many heartbreakers."
Jackson-Davis also said there were about four or five different situations where if they got the loose ball or got the rebound, things could have turned out differently.
It's not to say Indiana isn't giving effort. The Hoosiers fought toe-to-toe in a slugfest with Illinois all game long, but there were certain moments where Illinois got to the ball first, and that's what doomed Indiana.
"I feel like the effort is there," Jackson-Davis said. "We just have to close out these games. That's what it comes down to."
At the start of the game, Al Durham got things going early for Indiana. He scored eight early points, including two three-pointers, to give the Hoosiers an 12-8 advantage.
Indiana struggled to get the ball inside, though, due to the large presence of Cockburn.
Jackson-Davis' first field goal didn't come until 5:47 left in the first half.
"He's a great player," Jackson-Davis said on Cockburn. "What he does a great job of is his wall-ups. He tries to take away your structure."
Where the Hoosiers found the most success in the first half was when Miller elected to play all four freshmen with Race Thompson. Indiana outplayed Illinois during that stretch, thanks to the play of Trey Galloway, Khristian Lander and Thompson.
"I think that speaks to the development and that speaks to the improvement," Miller said.
Lander played 11 minutes in the first half and really took control of the offense. He had two rebounds and two assists, but he made the right decision every time down the floor. Then, at the end of the half, Lander looked for his shot and knocked down a three to put Indiana up five.
Jackson-Davis knocked in a long two at the buzzer to send the Hoosiers into the locker room with a 41-34 lead. The sophomore forward strutted down the floor with his tongue out after he made the shot.
Indiana had a lot of confidence heading into the second half, but then the Hoosiers came out flat.
Illinois had more energy than Indiana to begin the second half, and the Illini outscored Indiana 16-6 to take a three-point lead in the first seven minutes.
Indiana got into the bonus with 11 minutes to go, but the Hoosiers left 11 points on the board, going 23-of-34 from the free-throw line.
Lander continued to get big minutes in the second half after Rob Phinisee picked up his fourth foul, and he continued to play well until about three minutes to go in the game.
Illinois' Trent Frazier hit two threes in a row over Lander, and then Lander fouled Frazier on another three-point attempt, which fouled Lander out of the game.
That sequence allowed Illinois to take a six-point deficit and turn it into a two-point lead.
"I thought that was a really important run for them to get back into the game," Miller said.
Both teams struggled to score down the stretch, and Ayo Dosunmu and Georgi Bezhanishvili both fouled out for the Illini, while Phinisee picked up his fifth foul with 42 seconds left, grabbing Frazier on an inbounds play. Frazier stepped to the line and gave the Illini a two-point lead.
Armaan Franklin then attacked the rim hard and made a layup with 30 seconds left to tie the game. Indiana then got a stop, and the two teams went to overtime knotted at 68.
From there, the offense continued to be ugly on both sides of the ball. Both teams made just one field goal each, but Illinois made five throws to Indiana's one to secure the four-point victory.
"In overtime it comes down to some balls gotta go in," Miller said. "We had a couple plays, some opportunities that just didn't go our way."
With the loss, the Hoosiers are now 9-8 overall and 4-6 in the Big Ten. In a week where Indiana could really benefit with a win, the Hoosiers squandered this opportunity down the stretch.
Next up, Indiana will be taking on No. 8 Iowa on Sunday in Assembly Hall at noon ET.
"I think our team is getting better," Miller said. "The good thing is we got another opportunity Sunday against a great team."
- LIVE BLOG: To catch up on what went down in Assembly Hall on Tuesday night, CLICK HERE