The Illini come out on top in their first heavyweight bout of the season with UCLA
What a win this was for Brad Underwood and the program. After a lackluster first half, they turned it around in a 79-70 win over No. 8 UCLA. This team showed excellent toughness and shotmaking ability in this game. After being dominated by Jaime Jacquez Jr. and Tyger Campbell, they slowed them down in an energetic second-half effort. Welcome to Champaign, Terrence Shannon Jr., his draft stock went WAY up after this performance.
The Good Things
As I teased above, this was one of the best performances by a player in the Underwood era from Shannon Jr. He was absolutely brilliant and efficient, two things that are hard to do in concert.
- Key Stats
- 52% from the field (27-51), 48% from three (12-25)
- 19 assists on 27 field goals
- Dainja Dainja 6-for-6 from the field, Shannon Jr. 8-for-9 from three
- 10-for-11 from the free throw line in the second half
Dainja has continued to impose his will on the opponent. He is now shooting 85% from the field in 4 games and was 100% in this game. They’ve shared the ball well, which was driven by Coleman Hawkins (7 assists) and Matthew Mayer (5 assists), as shocking as that seems.
The Bad Things
There were plenty of ugly stats from this game, but overall a win is a win. They got out of control early in the game, which contributed to a lot of these ugly numbers.
- Key Stats
- 21 turnovers
- 16 offensive rebounds allowed
- 21 fewer field goal attempts than UCLA
- Hawkins/Melendez: 8 points and 8 turnovers combined
As I mentioned above, a lot of these ugly numbers were from the first half. The Illini cleaned it up a bit more and ran away in the second half with a huge run. They need to limit the communication issues and turn the ball over less, but credit to UCLA’s defense – it is elite.
Three Studs of the Game
Stud #3 – G David Singleton (UCLA) – 5-10 FG, 4-7 3pt, 15 points, 5 rebounds
While Campbell and Jacquez Jr. both scored 20 more points, Singleton kept them in the game with efficient shooting. He made a few large threes for the Bruins down the stretch.
Stud #2 – G Sencire Harris (Illini) – 2-3 FG, 4 points, 1 assist, 2 steals, 9 minutes
Stats don’t matter here, what a spark Harris was in the limited minutes that he played. Underwood clearly took too long to put him in the game, but he change the entire feel of the game when he came in. He’s a tremendous defender, and he locked up Campbell in the minutes he played. The freshmen guards have wildly impressed through four games and tonight was no different.
Stud #1 – G/F Terrence Shannon Jr. – 9-13 FG, 8-9 3pt, 29 points, 10 rebounds, 3 assists
It had to be Shannon Jr. as the top stud of the game. As I’ve raved about in this entire recap, he was on a different level in this game. It was unbelievable to watch him make every big shot down the stretch, the NBA teams should be paying attention. I can’t believe how good he was in this game.
Onto the Next One
Next up for the Illini: Sunday, November 20th vs. #16 Virginia (2 PM CST / ESPN) (Continental Tire Main Event)
The Illini will get the day off in Vegas before their showdown on Sunday against No. 16 Virginia. This will be another massive test for this team as the Cavaliers are coming off of a win over No. 5 Baylor.
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