Illinois defeated the Missouri Tigers 75-66 in the Scottrade Center Wednesday night. The Fighting Illini extend their current win streak in the Braggin’ Rights game to 4, and improve their series record to 31-16.
For the Illini, the story of the night was the production of Malcolm Hill and Maverick Morgan. Hill finished the game with 21 points, his 6th game this season with 20 points or more. Maverick Morgan proved to be just as valuable, as he scored a season high 19 points and grabbed 11 rebounds in his second consecutive double-double this season.
Illinois started the night strong, opening the game on a 7-2 run. Early runs from Jalen Coleman-Lands and Malcolm Hill in the first half lifted the Fighting Illini to a 12 point lead. Missouri would work their way back into the game with a few key baskets, but the Illini would ultimately find themselves ahead by 10 at halftime. Coleman-Lands and Hill combined for 19 points in the first half, and Maverick Morgan led the team in rebounds with 5.
Malcolm Hill punishes the under screen defense. pic.twitter.com/TApSIcQG7K— Big Ten Geeks (@bigtengeeks) December 22, 2016
While the first half went the way of the Illini, the second half was more of a struggle as Missouri clawed back into the game with a 9-3 run midway through the second half. Foul trouble plagued Illinois as both Leron Black and Tracy Abrams were benched near the 12 minute mark with 4 fouls a piece. Abrams would eventually foul out of the game at the 6:36 mark with only 3 points and 3 rebounds. Black did not have a great game either, as he finished the game scoreless.
When the Tigers looked to be closing in on Illinois, Michael Finke hit a clutch 3-pointer to increase the Illini lead to 7 with 5:31 remaining, a lead the Illini would not surrender. With the win, Illinois finishes the non-conference schedule with a 10-3 record.
The Illini will have six days of rest, and will then face the Maryland Terrapins on Dec. 27 in College Park, MD.