Illinois suffered its first loss last night to the Wake Forest Demon Deacons. It was a questionable performance by all parties not named Bryant Crawford. The Illini once again found themselves behind the 8-ball after a less than stellar last nine minutes. Illinois was able to cut the Demon Deacon lead to as little as one, but fell short with a final score of 80-73.
Aaron Jordan: A+
After an exceptional start to the year, the junior was rewarded with the most minutes he’s seen all this season – he did not disappoint. Jordan took his NCAA leading three-point percentage into Winston-Salem and figured, why not bring it up a notch? He was four of six from deep for the Illini and six of 10 from the field. He also pulled down five boards and two steals in his career-high 20-point performance.
Da’Monte Williams: A
The freshman has seen his minutes steadily decline after a “meh” DePaul game, however, he did some nice things for the Illini in just 11 minutes off the bench. Williams hit a three with the clock dwindling down on Illinois’ victory hopes that put the Illini back in it. He also snuck behind the Demon Deacon defense late for a pretty, weak-side put-back.
Mark Alstork: C
Alstork hasn’t been quite what most Illini faithful had hoped for since the start of the year, but his hot start last night got Illinois off on the right foot. He came in shooting just 22 percent from three, but did go two for five from behind the arc. It wasn’t an awful performance from the transfer.
Leron Black, Michael Finke, & Kipper Nichols: D-
This was easily the worst game for each member of the trio so far this season. The frontcourt was put up against other big men with size and talent, and they struggled mightily. Black shot just 25 percent from the floor, including four turnovers in a game-high 34 minutes. Finke was virtually nonexistent the whole game after getting in foul trouble early. He finished the game with just two points and three turnovers in 21 minutes. Nichols may have had the best game of the three, but that’s not saying much. He was 4-11 from the field and a perfect 4-4 from the line, but only finished with just 14 points and five turnovers. The three combined for 12 of the team’s season-high 19 turnovers.
I’m not one to blame losses on any crew officiating the game, but there were more than a few questionable calls last night. This play in particular really killed any momentum Illinois might have had.
— IllinoisLoyalty (@IllinoisLoyalty) November 29, 2017
3 points for Wake Forest, foul on Finke, Wake Forest ball!
I'm absolutely befuddled at how the refs counted that clearly goal tended 3-ptr for Wake Forest. Just awful... #Illini— Ryan Baker (@RyanBakerMedia) November 29, 2017
Oh, and then there was that “inadvertent whistle”
After a long, long review, they take away the foul?!?!?! What???— The Champaign Room (@Champaign_Room) November 29, 2017
Brad Underwood’s thoughts:
Brad Underwood: "I won't get into it so I won't get suspended for the Big Ten games"— IllinoisLoyalty (@IllinoisLoyalty) November 29, 2017