The stream was terrible, and the game lasted until 2am, but thanks to DJ Richardson's buzzer-beater, it was totally worth it.
This recap will be short and sweet. That's what happens when Illinois starts a basketball game after 11:30 local time and it goes into overtime and doesn't finish until 2am.
After our first two wins of the year I said there wasn't much we could take away from either game. That is not the case with tonight. Hawaii came out and punched the Illini in the mouth from the start, holding a double-digit lead for most of the first half and going into the locker room with a 41-28 lead.
However, in the second half, the Illini fought back. Which was a very welcome change compared to what we saw last season. Last year this team gets knocked down and just stays down on the ground in a fetal position. That wasn't the case tonight, as Brandon Paul, Tracy Abrams and DJ Richardson helped lead a second half comeback.
Hawaii would tie the game up at the end of regulation and jump out to a 5-point lead in overtime, but the Illini would fight back again, with DJ Richardson hitting a three from the corner as time expired to win the game.
-- Thank god Hawaii can't shoot free throws. The Warriors had the Illini in foul trouble all night, but could only hit 17 of their 31 free throw attempts. A stat that certainly played a huge role in the Illini being able to come back down the stretch.
-- Nnanna Egwu should never shoot another three. Seriously, what the hell was that? As for everything else Nnanna did, he finished the night with only 4 points and 5 rebounds but also blocked 4 shots before fouling out in overtime.
-- Tracy Abrams really just might be the point guard we didn't think we had. 22 points on 16 shots with 5 rebounds, 5 steals and 3 assists? Yeah, I'll take that. The 3 assists are misleading too, as plenty of his teammates missed open shots in the first half.