Miami holds off Illinois 63-59 thanks to Shane Larkin’s clutch last-minute three

Illinois’ Fighting Illini took the fight to the two-seeded Miami Hurricanes Sunday in their second round match up in the Austin, Texas bracket.  In the end, Miami’s sophomore star Shane Larkin hit a crushing shot to hold off the underdog Illini 63-59.

Miami advances to the Sweet 16 for a game against Marquette later in the week.  The Chicago Tribune reports that this will be their first Sweet 16 appearance in 13 years.

Shane Larkin, son of baseball great Barry Larkin, has been leading Miami as the team’s point guard and top three-point shooter.

Illinois’ Tyler Griffey and Brandon Paul were primary scorers in the first half, and Paul finished the first half with a buzzer-beating layup that kept it close at 29-26 in favor of Miami.

Nnanna Egwu hit one of his 12-points to give Illinois its first lead lead halfway through the second  quarter.  But Larkin quickly answered with a layup to put Miami back ahead.
It was a back and fourth sequence from there.  As time dwindled down, Brandon Paul gave Illinois another lead at 54-52.  Then with exactly one minute remaining and facing a single-point deficit, Larkin hit a step-back three that put them up 57-55.
After missing a three-pointer, Illinois had to go into foul mode, but Miami made six-straight free-throws in the final seconds of the game to seal the tight victory.