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NEW YORK — Kevin Durant never showed up and the Texas Longhorns could have used him.
With his Brooklyn Nets off on Tuesday night, there were rumors that the former Longhorns star would sit courtside for the game between No. 2 Texas and No. 17 Illinois in the Jimmy V Classic at Madison Square Garden.
But Durant never came, and the Longhorns ended up losing their first game of the season, 85-78 in overtime, in the first game of the doubleheader. No. 15 Duke met Iowa in the nightcap.
Texas (6-1) led 68-63 on a stepback jumper from Marcus Carr with 1:00 left in regulation, but Illinois (7-2) used a 5-0 run to close regulation and force overtime. Carr had a potential game-winning jumper blocked by Jayden Epps at the end of regulation.
In the extra period, Terrence Shannon Jr. came alive and scored 12 of his 16 points as Illinois outscored Texas 17-10. Shannon entered as Illinois’s leading scorer at 19.8 points per game but was scoreless in the first half. He was playing with a bandage over his eye after getting five stitches due to a collision with Maryland’s Julian Reese last Friday.
“I thought they played really tough down the stretch,” said Texas coach Chris Beard, who recruited Shannon to Texas Tech before the player transferred to Illinois. “I don’t know if either team played our A game. It really came down to shooting. They made more free throws and more 3-point shots. We actually made more field goals (29-27) but they made more threes (10-7), so basketball kind of gets mathematical sometimes.
“In the overtime we just didn’t take care of the ball and we let TJ Shannon get going downhill. But congratulations to Illinois, my former player TJ and we’ll be pulling for those guys this season.”
Texas was looking for its third win against an AP top 20 opponent in its first seven games. The Longhorns hammered No. 2 Gonzaga 93-74 at home on Nov. 16 and then beat No. 7 Creighton 72-67 at home in the Big East/Big 12 Battle on Dec. 1.
“We wished we would’ve played better, especially down the stretch, but we’re proud to be part of a first-class event,” Beard said. “We’re proud to be associated with the Jimmy V Foundation and I know we try to do our part in Austin. We're doing a Coaches vs. Cancer event here in a couple months.”
Timmy Allen scored a season-high 21 points with eight assists and seven rebounds and Tyrese Hunter added 10 points, seven boards and four assists. Carr, Jabari Rice and Arterio Morris scored nine apiece.
“I don’t really want to talk about my specific stats. I'm trying to win games,”Allen said. “But I’m just trying to help my teammates get in their spots and take a load off their shoulders.”
He added: “I think we made too many mistakes, obviously. Veteran players, we got to be better, all of us all around. We could’ve won it in regulation, but we just let it slip away.”
Matthew Mayer led the Illini with a season-best 21 points, including 5-of-5 from deep, and Epps tallied 11.
Scouts from 25-30 NBA teams were on hand for a number of prospects, including Texas freshman Dillon Mitchell, a projected lottery pick in next summer’s NBA draft by ESPN.com. Shannon projects as the No. 27 pick and his teammate Coleman Hawkins is 24.
In the overtime, Shannon scored eight points to give Illinois a 77-70 lead before Brock Cunningham hit a three to make it 77-73. After three free throws by Carr cut it to 77-76, Epps made a layup to put Illinois up 79-76. RJ Melendez made two foul shots to push it to 81-76.
On the ensuing possession, Carr turned the ball over out of bounds, giving the Illini the ball back with 28.8 seconds left.
Shannon Jr. hit four more foul shots to push the Illini lead to 85-78.
“I don’t think he let his first half affect his second half and when it came winning time, he took over,” Beard said of Shannon.
“Terrence Shannon had five stiches in his eye and (was) playing against his old ball coach who he loves and was slow getting going,” Illinois coach Brad Underwood said. “Terrence kind of took over.”
Texas returns home to face Arkansas-Pine Bluff on Saturday at noon in the Jimmy Blacklock Classic.
“We had a great November, now it’s December,” Beard said. “We’ve done a good job learning from victory ever since this summer. And now we’ve got to try to learn from a night where we didn’t win on the scoreboard.”
This article originally appeared on Austin American-Statesman: No. 17 Illinois hands No. 2 Texas first loss of season in overtime