The Illinois Fighting Illini got off to a slow start against the Austin Peay Governors, but they more than made up for it as they achieved the 100-point mark for the second time in as many games. It was an extremely impressive shooting display as the team shot 59.7% from the field and 56% from three (14-25).
Illinois will be back at in on Monday as they welcome Brown to the State Farm Center. After that, the team will be traveling out West for the Las Vegas Invitational where they'll take on Indiana State (Thanksgiving) and the winner/loser of Baylor/Memphis. But before all that, here's what we learned from Friday's victory:
Three Things We Learned:
1. The Illini are extremely balanced offensively
Illinois had five players averaging double figures going into Friday night's game; that theme continued as Rayvonte Rice, Malcolm Hill, Kendrick Nunn, Ahmad Starks, and Nnanna Egwu all scored 10-plus. It seems that Illinois has shooters everywhere as seven different players made shots from three-point range. It's no longer the "Rayvonte Rice" show, but he still managed to put up a team-high 16 points on an extremely efficient night.
2. Kendrick Nunn is healthy
There have been some questions surrounding Nunn after an offseason knee procedure, but his play tonight should silence any and all concerns; he played a fantastic all-around game tonight. Nunn was a force on defense, he was flying up and down the court, and his outside shot looked GREAT. His final stat line was 14 points on 5/8 shooting (4/4 from three) with three steals, two rebounds, and one assist.
3. Inside game is lacking, but present
Illinois doesn't have a real go-to threat down low, but the combination of Egwu, Hill, and Black should be sufficient over the course of the season. It isn't always pretty, but they get the job done and it's usually at a high percentage. Besides, In my opinion, interior defense is more important than offense and Illinois' front-court certainly has that covered.