The Illini returned home and took care of business against a lesser Lindenwood team
The score was 92-59, but the effort from the Illini was noticeably lacking in the little areas of the game. I don’t think head coach Brad Underwood was thrilled with how his team played tonight, but they got the win. The Illini improve to 5-1 on the season and move on to the next four games against power conference opponents.
The Good Things
They were able to get out in transition to score points, but their half-court offense still needs some major work.
- Key Stats
- 58% from the field (36-62)
- 48 points in the paint
- 81% from the free throw line (9-11)
- 16 (!) steals
The Illini had a distinct size advantage in this game, it’s no surprise that they scored a lot in the paint and owned the rebounding advantage. They didn’t get to the line as much as I expected, but they were solid when they were behind the stripe. The two misses were from Skyy Clark, who was shooting 100% from the line heading into this game. The Illini’s press was elite in this game, to the surprise of no one. They caused three 10-second violations and tallied 16 steals overall.
The Bad Things
Despite the 33-point victory, the Illini made plenty of mistakes as I alluded to earlier. They didn’t give as good of an effort as they should have.
- Key Stats
- 22 turnovers
- Lindenwood’s 28 points in the paint
It’s baffling that the Illini turned the ball over 22 times in this game, Underwood was losing his mind in some of those sequences. They also overextended defensively a lot and struggled to defend in certain parts of the game to allow Lindenwood to score 28 points in the paint.
Three Studs of the Game
Stud #3 – F Matthew Mayer (Illini) – 2-6 FG, 2-5 3pt, 8 points, 9 rebounds, 1 assist, 1 block, 2 steals
It wasn’t the flashiest stat line for Mayer, but he did a lot of things well. He made a couple of threes and played quality defense while rebounding well and being in the right spots. This was his most complete performance of the season in only 15 minutes of playing time.
Stud #2 – G RJ Melendez (Illini) – 7-11 FG, 2-5 3pt, 17 points, 4 rebounds, 1 assist, 1 steal
Hello, RJ Melendez. The sophomore guard made his presence known in this game with an efficient performance on the offensive end. Melendez has been coming along after a slow start and he looks far more confident. It’s time for Underwood to give him more minutes on a nightly basis.
Stud #1 – G Skyy Clark (Illini) – 8-9 FG, 3-4 3pt, 19 points, 3 rebounds, 4 assists, 1 block, 1 steal
A more confident Skyy Clark makes for a much better Illini as the season goes along. He was brilliant in just about every way in this game, he needs to shoot the ball more and this showed. He showed that he is a five-star caliber point guard, this will be huge for the Illini as the season goes on.
Onto the Next One
Next up for the Illini: Tuesday, November 29th vs. Syracuse (6:30 PM CST / ESPN)
The Big Ten/ACC Challenge begins next week and the Illini will try to get their third straight win (2020 at Duke, 2021 vs. Notre Dame) in the challenge with Syracuse coming to town. Jim Boeheim’s Orange are 3-2 on the season and don’t have the greatest of rosters this season. However, this should be a fun and interesting matchup as the Big Ten tries to prove its superiority over the ACC.
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