So that game was a lot closer than it needed to be or ever should have been. This is an Auburn team that was ranked 184th by Ken Pomeroy coming into this afternoon's tilt.
So how did such a mediocre-to-poor team hang with our Illini so long?
- They shot .483 from the floor while shooting .478 from behind the arc.
- Out of the 31 shots they did miss, they snagged 14 rebounds. We had nine offensive rebounds on 27 misses.
- Our three pointer centric offense only went 4-15.
So what went right?
- We shot .481 from the field in spite of only shooting .267 from behind the arc.
- 40 free throws. Seriously. The Illini went to the free throw line 24 more times than the Tigers. Sure, we only shot .675, but it worked out well enough.
- Auburn turned the ball over 20 times.
- Tyler Griffey actually played defense!
- Personal favorite Mike LaTulip recorded a solid trillion.
And most importantly, Tracy Abrams had the game of his young career setting new single game highs in points (27) and rebounds (8). He had one beautiful ankle-breaking move in the second half that led to one of his five assists. He's really growing into a reliable scorer as the season goes on.
While the team didn't play particularly well today, it's pretty nice to be 13-1 going into Big Ten play. The players seem confident and happy. The coach looks like he belongs and enjoys being here. Things are going well.