Hey, basketball can be really fun sometimes too! Illinois easily took down an undermanned Rutgers team at home, 91-60, to pick up its second conference win in a row.
Illinois scored 50 points in the second half — its most in a second half this season — and scored 37 points off 25 Rutgers turnovers. The 31-point win was the largest margin of victory for the Illini since 2009.
It was a much-needed fun game for Illinois. Here are some of the top takeaways.
1. Trent Frazier went nuts in the first half
What more can we really say about Trent Frazier? This guy is the real deal. He has been Illinois’ best player in conference play. He is scoring 15.8 points per game since the start of 2018.
In the first half against Rutgers, Frazier had five three-pointers in just under a four-minute span. His hot ‘Golden State Warriors’ shooting from three gave Illinois a big lead that it wouldn’t surrender.
He only played five minutes in the second half, making one shot, but still put up 17 points and lit the spark for an Illinois blowout.
2. Illinois had a killer instinct
Illinois led by 20 points after the first half. The Illini have been inconsistent on the season, and haven’t played well in both halves often. Brad Underwood mentioned the team lacking a certain killer instinct. They had it last night.
Instead of letting Rutgers claw back into the game, Illinois stepped on the gas pedal in the second half and put the game out of reach with time to spare. Illinois didn’t let up on its defensive pressure or lose focus on offense. The Illini didn’t let the Knights up for air, and this has to leave Underwood extremely pleased.
3. Te’Jon Lucas with another solid game after his return
Lucas didn’t have the most productive game in terms of stats — two points, two rebounds, four assists and two turnovers — but his ability to move the ball has been a huge lift for the Illini offense since his return from suspension.
Lucas is a pure point guard and a natural passer of the ball, unlike Mark Smith who played point guard in Lucas’ absence. He moves the ball quickly and with ease to help keep the Illinois offense in rhythm and on schedule.
He has lost his starting job, but he can still be a key figure for the Illini off the bench as they look to close out the season strong.
4. Brad Underwood’s Jacket
The TCR staff is divided. Is this jacket good or not? Let us know in the comments.