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Illini Fall Just Short In Loss To Michigan

Nick Stauskas hits 3-pointer

Nik Stauskas hits a 3-pointer, giving Michigan a 38-33 halftime lead in Friday's Big Ten conference game. (Rob McColley)

Jordan Morgan scored on a layup with 7.9 seconds left, giving No. 8 Michigan a 64-63 victory over Illinois in Friday's Big Ten tournament.

The Illini had a chance to win on Tracy Abrams' shot, but it bounced off the front of the rim as the final buzzer sounded.

"It was a good play," he said.  "I got open, got a 12-foot floater, real consistent with other shots."

Illinois Coach John Groce refused to second-guess his defense.

"As long as decisions are well thought-out, they're educated, and they're communicated amongst the staff and the players," he said.  "I guy asked me, 'do you wish you went zone (defense) on Morgan's bucket?', well, I do now."
 
Michigan (24-7), the regular season champion, advances to Saturday's semifinals with its seventh straight win.

It will face either fourth-seeded Nebraska or fifth-seeded Ohio State - two teams it has not lost to this season. The Buckeyes and Cornhuskers play later Friday.
 
Conference player of the year Nik Stauskas scored 19 points to lead Michigan.  Illinois (19-14) was led by Abrams and Rayvonte Rice with 11 points each.
 
After leading most of the game, Michigan gave away the lead with 2:30 to go.  But Morgan bailed out the Wolverines with his post move to win it.

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