I have no idea where Illinois basketball would be without Malcolm Hill, but they certainly wouldn’t be sitting at 7-3 on the season. The star senior put on his cape Tuesday night as he saved the Fighting Illini from an absolutely embarrasing effort against the IUPUI Jaguars (3-6). After starting off a bit slow, Hill finished the contest with 32 points — including 23 in the second half — and 4 rebounds on 11-18 shooting from the field. Illinois ultimately won the game by a final score of 85-77.
The Orange and Blue opened the night with a quick 10-0 run, however IUPUI immediately responded with an unlikely 20-5 streak to take the lead about midway through the first half. Despite shooting pretty well (55.1 FG%), turnovers were preventing Illinois’ offense from establishing any sort of wasn’t consistency, and the Jaguars entered the break with a 42-41 lead as a result.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, IUPUI seemed to be in control for most of the second half. The hot shooting touch of Matt O’Leary was a constant thorn in Illinois’ side; the senior accounted for a team-high 25 points and 6 rebounds on 7-15 shooting. It took a few lucky bounces and breaks for the Illini to establish a lead, but they were able to hold off the Jaguars when it counted most down the stretch.
WATCH: John Groce reacts to Illinois Basketball’s 85-77 win over IUPUI
Hear from the Illinois head coach following his team’s win.