CHAMPAIGN, Ill. — No hangover here. Another hot start for Illinois gives them a crucial win after beating No.5 Michigan earlier this week.
The Illini put away the Old Dominion Monarchs Saturday night at the State Farm Center in Champaign thanks to a 15-point lead at the half. Illinois secured the win in the second half, 69-55
“This is about what I thought it would be,” said Illinois head coach Brad Underwood. “It was hard-fought. I don’t think it was the prettiest basketball game. I’ve been concerned about this game for some time.”
Underwood’s change from Andres Feliz to DaMonte Williams in the starting lineup has seemed to solve Illinois’ slow starts. The starting lineup looked much more cohesive and got out to nice leads early. Two three’s from Ayo Dosunmu and Trent Frazier started the game out with a bang and Illinois jumped out to a 7-0 lead in the first 80 seconds.
“I was really pleased with our first half, especially defensively,” said Underwood. “Fortunate to get going in transition.”
Jeff Jones took Old Dominion’s first time out in the first five minutes and effectively slowed down the Illini offense that had already gotten to a 13-4 lead. The monarchs went 5-for-5 in their next five possessions and cut the Illini lead to three. It took the last eight minutes for Illinois to find their footing again. A 20-7 run gave the Illini some breathing room to finish the first half of play on top 40-25 at the half.
Illinois never let their foot off the gas in the second half. Alan Griffin impressed in the second half, leading the Illini in scoring with ten second-half points. Tevian Jones saw his first action all year with three minutes left and a 20 point lead. Jones has only recently been allowed to dress after facing a suspension to start the season.
“Alan Griffin is an elite shooter,” said Underwood. “Can make 20-30 in a row during practice. It’s all the important things on the other end [to see the floor more].”
Moments that Mattered
Good start: Illinois has been able to put together three good starts in as many games. With DaMonte Williams in the starting lineup, Illinois has put together nice starts that look much more fluid on the floor.
1st Half Timeouts: Old Dominion head coach Jeff Jones had a knack at calling timeouts at just the right times. Twice during the first half, Jones slowed down the Illini offense causing scoring droughts and taking the crowd out of the game. It’s too bad he wasn’t calling them for the Illini against Miami and Maryland.
Tweet of the Game
talent level is so much higher this year— The Champaign Room (@Champaign_Room) December 14, 2019
it’s still all just a little... clunky
You gotta see this
- Kofi Cockburn: 11 points, 9 rebounds, 3-for-6 FG
- Ayo Dosunmu: 14 points, 3 assists, 4-for-9 FG
- Trent Frazier: 9 points, 2 rebounds, 3-for-7 FG
- Andres Feliz: 6 Points, 3 rebounds, 3-for-6 FG
- Giorgi Bezhanishvili: 6 points, 6 rebounds, 1-for-3 FG
- Alan Griffin: 15 points, 0 rebounds, 6-for-7 FG
Illinois takes on Missouri in the annual Braggin’ Rights game at the Scottrade Center in St.Louis. Tipoff is at noon on the SEC network.