Let’s take a look at some key elements of the Braggin’ Rights box score that were instrumental in the Illini’s win over Mizzou last night. The Illini escaped with a 70-64 win over the Tigers after leading by 20 at halftime. Here is last night’s box score:
Mizzou had 21 turnovers in Saturday’s game, which tied a season-high for total team turnovers. The Illini forced 14 of those turnovers in the first half, which resulted in .629 points per possession for the Tigers in the first 20 minutes.
Eleven of the 21 Mizzou turnovers were Illini steals, these live ball turnovers allowed Illinois to get out and run, and didn’t allow Mizzou to set their defense in the first half. The Illini outscored the Tigers in points off turnovers 25-15.
Mizzou shot 18.5% on three-pointers. They went 5-27 beyond the arc and took 55 field goals in total. All year, Mizzou has taken a very high volume of threes, and has made them at a 40% clip.
This is a mixture of some good pressure defense from Illinois in the first half, but also a lot of good luck that Mizzou’s threes just weren’t falling in St. Louis. The Illini made more threes than the Tigers while taking 13 less attempts. That’s usually a recipe for victory.
Trent Frazier’s Big Night
Trent Frazier had a career night. The freshman point guard had a career-high 22 points, including two huge threes at the end of the first half to put the Illini up 20. He also had some big free throws down the stretch to close it out. Frazier was forced into additional action due to Te’Jon Lucas’ foul trouble. Frazier’s 22 points contributed to the huge 27-0 advantage the Illini had in bench scoring.
Frazier shot 5-17 from the field and only had one assist. He will have plenty to learn from in this game. There were stretches in the second half where the ball never left his hands and he forced some tough shots, but that is the nature of a rivalry game, and Frazier did enough to lead the Illini to victory.
Illini FT Shooting
Illinois struggled mightily from the line Saturday night. The Illini shot 18-27 (66%) from the free throw line.
The game could have been put away much earlier in the second half if the Illini could have made some free throws. On back-to-back possessions the Illini missed the front end of a one-and-one, and then followed that up with two missed free throws by Lucas.
Frazier was the only bright spot at the line, where he shot 10-11 and helped close out the game. If you remove Frazier, the rest of the team shot 8-16 from the line. Brad Underwood is not going to find that stat acceptable.
(Almost) Wire to Wire
The Illini went down 2-0 after Jeremiah Tilmon made the first basket of the game. They would then go on a 10-0 run to take a 10-2 lead and they would never give up the lead again.
The Illini led for the last 35:25 of the game. Even though Illinois made it closer than it needed to be down the stretch, they showed marked improvement by closing out an intense, big time, rivalry game.