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Illinois Vs. Missouri Final Score: Tigers Hold Off Comeback, Win 78-74

The No. 24 Illinois Fighting Illini came back from behind to take the lead late in the game against the No. 8 Missouri Tigers on Thursday, but ultimately they couldn't hold on in a 78-74 Tigers victory. Missouri led by as much as 14 points in the second half, but Illinois took the lead with just two minutes to go before a late Tigers run.

With 12:25 remaining in the game, Missouri had a 59-45 lead against Illinois and looked to be pulling away with the game. But the tides turned as the Fighting Illini went on a 17-3 run over the next seven minutes to tie the game up at 62-62.

With about two minutes left, D.J. Richardson was fouled from beyond the three-point line, and his subsequent makes from the charity stripe put Illinois up 70-69 going into the final stretch. It was all Missouri from there, though, as the Tigers went on a dominant 7-0 run over the next minute to essentially put the game away. 

Illinois got strong performances from guard Brandon Paul and center Meyers Leonard, but ultimately couldn't pull off the upset on the road. Paul finished the game with 19 points and 10 rebounds, while Leonard put up 14 points, 11 rebounds and 5 assists. Joseph Bertrand was also huge during the comeback, completing the game with 19 points on perfect 9-for-9 shooting from the field.

Missouri just proved to be too much, though. Guard Phil Pressey finished the game with 20 points, 5 assists, 4 rebounds and 3 steals for the Tigers, while Michael Dixon scored 18 points and made the final free throws that effectively put the game away. 

For more, stay tuned to SB Nation Chicago. To keep tabs on the Fighting Illini, check out Hail to the Orange, SB Nation's Illinois Fighting Illini blog.