The Illini ended the first half in the driver’s seat, and looked as if they were going to ride this one off into the sunset for their first conference win. A poor second half, and a near shutout in overtime made sure that was not the case.
Let’s take a deeper look at some of the stats that stood out in the Illini’s fifth loss to start the conference season.
Final. pic.twitter.com/uShibJcXbQ— Illini Stats & Notes (@IlliniStats) January 12, 2018
The first thing that stands out on the Illinois side of the box score has to be Trent Frazier’s line. He notched a career-high 27 points on 7-of-11 shooting from deep to go along with three assists and two rebounds.
With the loss of Te’Jon Lucas, Frazier was also asked to play some more minutes. That number came in the amount of 40, and the only other player over 30 was Aaron Jordan with 34.
At one point Thursday night, I found myself asking why Da’Monte Williams was playing the high post position against Iowa’s zone. The answer to that question was foul trouble.
Leron Black dipped out early with five, as did Alstork, Nichols, and Williams. The Illini were already the smaller team, and with losses like Black and Nichols, the Illini struggle to put multiple forwards on the floor at once.
Speaking of Illinois’ lack of size, it’s not going to make itself any more evident than the rebound column. The Hawkeyes finished with 45 total rebounds, 28 of which were defensive. That number eclipsed the Illini mark for the entire game (26).
This is going to continue to be an issue in conference play unless guys like Smith or Jordan can start grabbing six consistently.
Return of Aaron Jordan
Jordan scored in double-digits and hit multiple treys for the first time since Longwood. It was good to see him getting it going from deep. Hopefully this game can give him a bode of confidence for the rest of the conference play.
He also added four assists, a block and a steal.
The Illini ended the first half 9-of-15 from three and shooting 54 percent from the field. On the other end of the floor, the Hawkeyes were just 1-of-8 from beyond the arc and 44 percent from the field. This is a major reason as to why Illinois led 54-41 at the end of half. The two teams ended 14-of-30 and 7-of-24, respectively.
The reigning All-Big Ten Freshmen Team selection entered Thursday night averaging just 12 points a game, but finished just short of a career-high with 29. The sophomore was 5-of-12 from the three-point line and a perfect 10-of-10 from the free-throw line. He also added five assists and a steal.