Another day, another scoring drought, another loss for the Illini. They have now dropped to 2-12 in the Big Ten and 0-8 on the road. With a depleted roster, the Hoosiers were just too much at home for Illinois. They pulled off their patented Fake Rally again last night, pulling within two points multiple times in the second half.
Here are some individuals who stood out from the game.
Leron Black: A-
Forced to play with a banged up roster, Black fouled out with about 40 seconds remaining. He finished the game with 20 points (8-of-12 shooting) and seven rebounds. Leron’s midrange game has been almost unstoppable this year, and when he gets his jump hook falling, it’s not uncommon for him to go for 16+.
He continues to add to an already impressive junior campaign with hopes of bringing home an All-Big Ten Team selection.
Kipper’s Second Half: A-
Kipper Nichols is the epitome of Katy Perry’s 2008 hit “Hot N Cold.” He’s capable of coming out on any given night and dropping 30, or finishing with zero.
Sticking with the 2000s pop hits theme, we got Kipper’s rendition of Hannah Montana’s “The Best of Both Worlds.” First half Kipper had zero points, zero rebounds, and two fouls in six minutes. Second half Kipper pitched in 16 points and three rebounds.
Nichols has the potential to be a star in this league, but his game is far too inconsistent right now. He has the size, he can stroke it from outside, but he is way too soft around the rim. Far too often he will shy away from contact instead of drawing the foul and getting to the line, where he is by far Illinois’ best free throw shooter. It’ll be an interesting offseason for Kipper. Hopefully, it’s one full of maturation.
Trent Frazier: C+
It wasn’t Frazier’s best game, but fans can’t expect a freshman to perform at a “great” level every game. Trent has been the diamond in the rough that is Brad Underwood’s first year. He takes a lot of shots, but someone on the team has to. A lot of other guys don’t seem comfortable with the ball in their hands and look to Frazier to make plays. That being said, he finished with 12 points (5-of-14 shooting), five assists and two rebounds.
Aaron Jordan: C-
Jordan had an “OK” game last night. It wasn’t anything special, but he contributed a little bit in his start. As a guy who struggles to create his own shot, Jordan relies on teammates like Lucas and Frazier to create and find him open behind the three-point line. That’s really all there is to his game at this point, but he has shown flashes of crashing the glass well. If this is something Jordan can add to his repertoire, it makes him a lot more valuable. However, he only finished with seven points (1-4 from three) and two rebounds in 30 minutes.
The Illini will square off against Nebraska in their second to last home game Sunday at 2:30.