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NCAA TOURNAMENT: Pettigrew leads Western to 76-72 upset of Illinois (03/20)

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By The Staff

The News-Enterprise

PORTLAND, Ore. — Steffphon Pettigrew hit two clutch free throws in the final 30 seconds to help the Western Kentucky Hilltoppers to the biggest upset in the first day of the NCAA Tournament on Thursday.

A former Elizabethtown High School standout and 2007 Mr. Basketball, Pettigrew hit two free throws with 30.5 seconds left and the 12th-seeded Hilltoppers beat fifth-seeded Illinois, 76-72.

Western Kentucky (25-8) was up 68-51 late in the second half before the Illini (24-10) rallied to slice the lead to 74-72 in the final 15 seconds.

Anthony Sally hit two free throws with 0.9 seconds left to seal the win.

Pettigrew, who finished 6-of-10 from the field and led the Hilltoppers with 17 points, missed three of his first four free throws before the late-game heroics.

Western Kentucky advanced to play fourth-seeded Gonzaga (27-5) at 8:10 Saturday night. The Zags moved on with a 77-64 win over 13th-seeded Akron.