PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) Rodney Bullock’s free throw with 43 seconds left gave Providence a 60-59 victory over Illinois on Wednesday night.
Illinois (1-2) missed three shots in the final 10 seconds. Malcolm Hill drove to the basket and missed a layup. Michael Finke grabbed the rebound but missed a dunk. The Fighting Illini again got the rebound but Hill missed a 3-pointer at the buzzer.
A 3-pointer by Ben Bentil and a layup by Ryan Fazekas to open the second half gave the Friars (2-0) the biggest lead of the night for either team at 7 points. Finke responded with 5 straight points and neither team led by more than 3 after that. Hill’s jumper tied the game at 59 with 1:18 left before Bullock’s free throw.
Bentil finished 18 points and 12 rebounds and Bullock added 13 points.
Jalen Coleman-Lands scored 17 points and Hill had 15 points plus 11 rebounds for Illinois.
The lead changed hands five times in the first half with the Friars up 32-30 at the break. The Illini got their first tie of the second half at 43-all on Aaron Jordan’s 3-pointer with 11:33 left.
There were six lead changes and five ties in the second half.
The shooting was not impressive for either team. Both teams were 23 of 60 from the field for 38.3 percent. Illinois was 9 of 25 (36 percent) from 3-point range and Providence 6 of 23 (26 percent). Illinois made 4 of 6 free throws and Providence 8 of 18.
This was Providence’s first home game against a Big Ten team since an 87-83 victory over Purdue on Dec. 27, 1998.