We finish off our countdown of the top individual performances of the Illinois Basketball season today with Leron Black’s 28-point game at home against Nebraska in a 72-66 win.
This loss was a huge blow to Nebraska’s NCAA Tournament hopes, and the Huskers have Leron Black to thank for it.
In 31 minutes of game time, Black put up 28 points on an very efficient 11-of-18 shooting — including 3-of-4 from three-point range — seven rebounds and a block while staying out of his all-too-common foul trouble.
On a night where Trent Frazier wasn’t at his best — 12 points on 3-of-12 shooting — and Kipper Nichols was struggling, Black took on the scoring load for the Illini. His movement in the low post was excellent and led to a few easy looks to go along with a few of his hook shots and turnaround jumpers. When nothing else was working for Illinois, Leron Black was.
Michael Finke was out for this game due a concussion, which effectively forced the undersized Black to play center. His tough play in the post on both ends was essential to the Illinois victory against a physical Nebraska team. He may not be the best defender, but he did a solid job on that end of the court, and he did so without fouling, allowing him to play 19 minutes in the second half.
Some have proposed that there may have been a “Ewing” effect with Leron Black for Illinois in 2017-18. While there were times where Black was a black hole when he got the ball on offense, he played a incredibly efficient game against Nebraska, and he led the charge for a tough fought win.
He will be a tough player to replace for Brad Underwood. We join the rest of Illini Nation in wishing Black the best of luck as he pursues his professional basketball career.