Illinois just lost a basketball game to Chattanooga. Illinois just lost a basketball game to Chattanooga.
Eric Robertson had 15 points on 5/10 shooting for the Mocs, who shot 50.0% from the field as a team. Mike Thorne Jr. (18 points, 10 rebounds) and Malcolm Hill (25 points, 3 assists, 3 steals) played pretty well for the Illini, but that was about all they had going for them tonight.
The Mocs were shredding Illinois' man-to-man defense early in the game and they were able to maintain a double-digit lead for most of the first half. However, John Groce made the switch to a zone defense after the break and the Illini crawled back into contention -- they even went on to lead by as many as 7 points. But, to their credit, Chattanooga never gave up.
A few Illinois turnovers and Chattanooga three-pointers later, the Mocs once again found themselves in the lead with less than two minutes remaining in the game. It was a lead they wouldn't relinquish.
We're only about a week into the 2015-16 season and Illinois is already 1-3. Obviously, several key players are out with injuries, but it's hard to envision this team making the NCAA Tournament. There are so many areas of weakness and the Illini are quickly running out of time to turn things around. These losses matter come March.
I don't have anything nice to say, so I'm not going to say anything else. Have discussing this debacle in the comments.
Illinois Fighting Illini