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« Basketball is King This Weekend Offseason Shenanigans - Or Lack Thereof »

Basketball Thu Mar 19 2009

12th seed Western Kentucky upsets 5th seed Illinois.

The Fighting Illini' lost to the Hilltoppers 76-72 in the first-round of the NCAA Tournament Thursday night. Many predicted that the Illini would succumb to Western Kentucky. The Hilltoppers made good on those predictions by upsetting fifth-seeded Illinois.

Western Kentucky went on an 18-5 run in the first half. They were scoring threes at will, scoring 15 points via the three point shot. They out-rebounded Illinois 19-11 in the first half. Illinois trailed by nine points at the half.

Despite an amazing performance by the Illini's Trent Meacham, who scored a season-high 24 points, it was not enough to overcome the Hilltoppers.The absence of Chester Frazier really showed and he could've made a difference for Illinois in this game. It was the Hilltoppers' Steffphon Pettigrew whose 17 points and Sergio Kerusch's double-double (14 points and 12 rebounds) that would lead their team to victory.

WKU led by as many as 17 points during the game. They surrendered seven turnovers in the last three minutes of the game which helped fuel the Illini's 17-3 run. The Hilltoppers were able to stave off the Illini for the win. This was the first and only upset on day one of the tournament.

Western Kentucky will take on Gonzaga in the second round on Saturday March 21.

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