INDIANAPOLIS – Tracy Abrams had the ball right where he wanted it — in his own hands with a drive to the basket.
The junior guard just came up short.
Jordan Morgan scored on a layup with 7.9 seconds left Friday and Abrams missed what would have been the winning shot at the buzzer, allowing No. 8 Michigan to survive a quarterfinal scare with a 64-63 victory in the Big Ten tournament.
“I thought it was going to go in, and I thought we were going to win and I had the utmost confidence,” said Abrams, after staring at the rim in disbelief. “I wasn’t shocked that we lost, but shocked the shot didn’t go in.”
Abrams and Illinois (19-14) did everything they could to pull off the upset.
They charged back from a 13-point second-half deficit with brilliant zone defense. They outrebounded the Wolverines 33-26. They committed only nine turnovers and shot better from the field than Michigan, too.
The difference was two bounces. Morgan’s shot went in, Abrams’ did not.
Morgan has been there before.
A little more than one year ago, Morgan’s last-second tip-in would have given the Wolverines (24-7) a share of the Big Ten regular-season title, but his rebound shot rolled off the rim.
No. 24 Ohio State 71, Nebraska 67: LaQuinton Ross had 26 points and 13 rebounds and the Buckeyes (25-8) rallied from an 18-point second-half deficit to beat the fourth-seeded Cornhuskers (19-12) in the quarterfinals of the Big Ten tournament.
The victory sends No. 5 seed Ohio State into a semifinal matchup with No. 1 seed Michigan on Saturday. The Wolverines defeated No. 9 seed Illinois 64-63 in another quarterfinal Friday.
Terran Petteway led Nebraska with 20 points but fouled out while defending Ross late in the game.
No. 22 Michigan State 67, Northwestern 51: Branden Dawson had 16 points and Gary Harris added 13 points to lead the third-seeded Spartans (24-7) over the Wildcats (14-19). Michigan State, which lost three of four games heading into the contest, will face No. 12 Wisconsin in one semifinal Saturday.
Drew Crawford scored 21 points for Northwestern.