The Fighting Illini were back in action on Wednesday afternoon to continue their overseas exhibition tour against the Netherlands National Team. In front of a sold-out crowd at the 'Topsportscentrum', Illinois fell to the Orange Lions by a final score of 81-54. Kendrick Nunn and Maverick Morgan led the way for the Illini with 10 points each.
Illinois' starters were Jaylon Tate, Kendrick Nunn, Malcolm Hill, Leron Black, and Mike Thorne. The beginning of the season is still months away, but we can probably expect a similar look for at least the first few weeks.
Thankfully, the Dutch had a live play-by-play set up online so it was at least possible to get an idea for the general flow of the game. It was a back-and-forth affair early on, but the Netherlands went on a small run to end the first quarter up 20-14. The Illini started out just 6/18 (1/4 3PT) from the field with 4 turnovers.
Those turnovers became an issue for the Illini in the second quarter; the team gave the ball away seven times, including four by Malcolm Hill. Fortunately, the defense made quick transitions and the Dutch weren't able to capitalize. Illinois' jumpers weren't falling throughout the quarter, either, but the frontcourt kept them close with several key baskets and the team trailed just 30-27 at halftime.
The Orange Lions opened the second half on a 15-6 run and didn't really look back from there (full disclosure: this is when I stopped paying attention to the game feed).
<blockquote class="twitter-video" lang="en"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">Video highlights from tonight's <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/Illini?src=hash">#Illini</a> game vs. the Dutch National Team. <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/eurotrip?src=hash">#eurotrip</a> <a href="http://t.co/hRwQmBoogr">http://t.co/hRwQmBoogr</a></p>— Illini Basketball (@IlliniMBB) <a href="https://twitter.com/IlliniMBB/status/631608328573972480">August 12, 2015</a></blockquote>
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The same as Tuesday. Jalen Coleman-Lands (leg stress fracture) and Darius Paul (shoulder) didn't play. Tracy Abrams (Achilles tendon) and Khalid Lewis aren't traveling with the team, either.
- As of December 2014, the Dutch are ranked as the No. 88 team in the FIBA world rankings. That may not seem overly impressive, but it was still a jump in competition from Tuesday's victory over Waragem.
- Malcolm Hill was designated as the team captain on the online play-by-play.
- The Dutch had five players that were 6'10 or taller--that's a significant height difference from Illinois' first game. The Illini lost the rebounding battle 37-36, but they still did a decent job on the boards.
- Illinois' scoring was distributed fairly evenly for the second consecutive game and that's a good sign. Sure, it'd be nice to see Malcolm Hill taking more shots, but it's encouraging to see that the team has several options on offense.
The Illini will be back in action on Saturday at 1:00pm CT to take on Bretigny Select. You can view the team's full schedule here.
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