An unbelievable comeback for the Illini leads to a victory at MSG against #2 Texas in the Jimmy V Classic
What a rollercoaster of a game at MSG between the Illini and Texas Longhorns. They fought back late to send it to overtime and won 85-78 in dramatic fashion. This was a battle from start to finish and the Illini had a lot of adversity to overcome. What a dramatic and unbelievable win this was.
The Good Things
- Key Stats
- 43% from the three-point line (10-23)
- Matthew Mayer – 5-for-5 from deep
- 25 bench points
- 8-11 from the free throw line in overtime
- 12 (!) blocks
It was a HUGE performance from Mayer in this one. He came out on fire and never slowed down, this is the player that we have wanted to see all season. The bench may have played its best game as well, scoring 25 points (Epps with 11). And at the end of the day, Terrence Shannon Jr. made his free throws in overtime when it mattered. They were also two blocks away from tying the school record, the defense came to play in the second half and overtime.
The Bad Things
- Key Stats
- 17 turnovers
- 20 personal fouls
- 13 offensive rebounds allowed
Hard to complain about a win like this, but the Illini certainly didn’t play their best game of the season. They were sloppy with 17 turnovers, including a number of questionable charges called against them. They surrendered too many offensive boards, but Texas didn’t kill them much with those opportunities (10 second chance points allowed). Overall, you take the win and move on to the next game.
Three Studs of the Game
Stud #3 – G/F Timmy Allen (Texas) – 9-18 FG, 1-3 3pt, 21 points, 7 rebounds, 8 assists, 1 block
Allen was far and away the best player on the floor for Texas in this game. The Illini could not stop his mid-range game. He also defended at a high level and had an efficient performance in all phases, Allen was far from the reason for Texas losing this one.
Stud #2 – G/F Terrence Shannon Jr. (Illini) – 5-14 FG, 1-4 3pt, 16 points, 5 rebounds, 3 steals, 5-5 FT
It wasn’t the best game for Shannon Jr., especially with his struggles in regulation. But he came up big in overtime with 12 of the Illini’s 17 points in that stretch. He also played some terrific defense late in this game. It has to feel good for Shannon Jr. to win another game at MSG, where he’s had success, and to do it against his former Texas Tech coach in Beard.
Stud #1 – F Matthew Mayer (Illini) – 8-10 FG, 5-5 3pt, 21 points, 2 rebounds, 1 assist, 3 blocks, 1 steal
THE MATTHEW MAYER GAME. Wow, he was absolutely terrific in this game. He had foul trouble that held him back from possibly scoring 30 points. He was 5-for-5 (!!!) from three. Just an unbelievable performance from the Baylor transfer. this is what Illini fans have wanted from him all season. Also, don’t discount how elite his defense was in this game. This was the 2020-21 Baylor version of Mayer AND more.
Onto the Next One
Next up for the Illini: Saturday, December 10th vs. Penn State (11 AM / Big Ten Network)
It’s back to the State Farm Center for their first home Big Ten game of the season. The Nittany Lions are a gritty group that will play Michigan State on Dec. 7th before their road test against the Illini. Hopefully, the Illini fan base is up and ready to go for this one. I expect it to be a big-time battle between two of the tougher teams in the conference.
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