After dancing and posing for photographs with his teammates at midcourt to celebrate a 70-64 victory against rival Missouri, Illinois forward Leron Black made his way to the stands.
If the Illini had lost, Black said he would have waited to pop the question until Christmas instead of seizing the opportunity Saturday while both of their families were together.
After earning a reputation for giving away games down the stretch, the Illini needed some poise to win their fifth straight in the series against the Tigers (10-3).
Illinois led 42-22 at halftime but missed its first eight shots of the second half, finally making their first field goal after more than 7 minutes had passed.
He originally committed to Illinois, but after the Illini fired John Groce he switched to the Tigers and their new coach and fellow East St. Louis native Cuonzo Martin.
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