Illinois faced its biggest road challenge of the season Saturday evening — without Ayo Dosunmu.
The RAC proved to be too much to handle.
Dosunmu absence was apparent as Rutgers continued their undefeated home streak at the RAC against the Illini, 72-57.
Despite traveling with the team, Ayo Dosunmu was not healthy enough to play after falling in the final minutes of the Michigan State game. Brad Underwood was forced to mixed up the starting lineup for the first time all season, benching Giorgi Bezhanishvili for Alan Griffin, and starting Andres Feliz over the injured Ayo Dosunmu. Tevian Jones and Tyler Underwood also saw some minutes in the first half.
The Illini offense pounded the boards early. Kofi was a pivotal part of the Illinois’ game plan. Kofi and Giorgi are dominating the boards, finishing the half with eight rebounds and eight points. Girogi still struggling at the hoop agin but finally found his baby hook for four points towards the end of the half. The Illini lacked serious production from their guards, who shot a combined 4-for-17 from the floor.
Ron Harper Jr. showed off his three point shooting skills, shooting a perfect 3-for-3 from behind the arc in the first half. Illinois didn’t have an answer for the 6’6’’ Harper, who finished the half with 15-points.
Illinois never had could find a consistent flow to the second half. Trent Frazier struggled from the three point line and couldn’t fill the hole that Ayo left. Alan Griffin continued to produce but was not enough to give the Illini a chance.
The Scarlett Knight continued to shoot the lights out. Ron harper Jr. followed up his first half performance with an even better second half performance. Rutgers put the final nail in the coffin with a 9-2 run in the final eight minutes of the game. Rutgers dominated the Illini at home, 72-57.
Moments that Mattered
Tevian Jones block: Tevian Jones has not been a big part of the team this year despite showing flashes last year. Today Jones stepped up offensively and defensively, including a team invigorating block.
Three-point shooting: Illinois struggles when Trent Frazier isn’t able to hit shot from behind the arc. The Illini lived and died by the three in this game and will continue to struggle if they can’t shoot threes.
Tweet of the Game
Frazier 1-4 from three— Jeremy Werner (@JWerner247) February 15, 2020
Jones 1-4 from three
Feliz 1-3 from three
Griffin 1-3 from three
That's about on par for Illini team 3-point percentage this season, but the Illini likely will need better to pull this off.
You Gotta See This
Illinois continues its road trip against the Big Ten’s elite when it takes on No. 15 Penn State at the Bryce Jordan Center on Tuesday night.
The game will be broadcast on FS1 at 5:30 p.m. C.T.