In what has been a nightmare of a regular season for the Illini and their fans, it has finally come to an end Sunday afternoon after losing to Wisconsin in Madison, 70-56.
The Illini as usual, started the game off trailing. First it was 2-0, then 9-2, then 14-2 and you already knew it was over. The usual stud of the game for the Illini, Meyers Leonard, was no where to be seen in the first half, and for the majority of the game. Leonard didn’t score his first points until about 9 minutes left in the game, and didn’t score his first field goal until 4:26. He finished the game with 8 points and 12 rebounds. I miraculous stat line when you saw how little of a factor he was on the offensive side for 3/4ths of the game.
Brandon Paul ended the season with another 20 point game, netting 22 points on 8 of 17 shooting. Sophomore forward Joseph Bertrand added 10 points of his own in 25 minutes of play. The inconsistent Illini shot a dismal 25% in the first half, but a very good 51.7% in the second half.
Wisconsin had four players in double figures. Josh Gasser and Jordan Taylor had a combined 32 points, while Jared Berggren added 12 points and Ryan Evans added 10.
Up next is the Big Ten Tournament next week in Indianapolis. Illinois will head in to the tournament as the #9 seed and will play the #8 seed Iowa Hawkeyes on Friday.