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Illini Athletics 2023: Second Half Year-In-Review

It’s been a busy six months.

TCR // Brad Repplinger
TCR // Brad Repplinger

As the calendar pages turn to 2024 (do people still have paper calendars anymore?) most of us will take this time to toast to a new year and reflect on the memories and experiences we’ve shared. That is no exception here at The Champaign Room.

I take it upon myself to painstakingly chronicle the happenings within Fighting Illini athletics during the past year. And while every year is “busy,” the past six months have provided a bevy of memorable moments, from the unique and improbable to the thrilling and unpredictable and the emotional and impactful.

Without any further ado...let’s get to it.

Jul. 6: Former Illini Tommy Kuhl makes his PGA Tour debut at the John Deere Classic in Silvis, Ill. A two-time First Team All-Big Ten golfer and 2023 All-American, Kuhl finished at 1-under par through 36 holes, missing the cut.

Other former Illini D.A. Points & Nick Hardy also competed in the JDC, with Hardy finishing tied for 21st (-13).

Jul. 10: Former Illini soccer player Alicia Barker is named to the Philippines FIFA Women’s World Cup team. The Filipina squad qualified for the first time in team history.

Jul. 10: Two Illini are selected on Day Two of the MLB Draft.

Right-handed pitcher Jack Wenninger was drafted in the 6th round (No. 186 overall) by the New York Mets. The Cary, Ill., native led the pitching staff in wins (6), innings pitched (80.1) and strikeouts (76), and threw complete-game, one-hit shutout of Ohio State on April 29.

Righty Riley Gowens was drafted by the Atlanta Braves in the 9th round (No. 279 overall). The Libertyville, Ill., native finished 2023 second in innings (60) and strikeouts (75). Gowens was also the starting pitcher for Illinois’ combined no-hitter versus Purdue in 2021.

Jul. 20: Head football coach Bret Bielema and his wife, Jen, purchase and donate 133 Fighting Illini tickets to organizations and community members in Champaign-Urbana and the state of Illinois as part of the FamILLy First campaign.

Jul. 21: Head softball coach Tyra Perry receives a contract extension through the 2027 season. Through eight seasons, Perry has led the Orange & Blue to a 243-166 record and four NCAA Tournament appearances.

Jul. 23: Ayo Dosunmu signs a 3-year contract to remain with his hometown Chicago Bulls. A former First Team All-Big Ten honoree, Ayo was a second-round draft pick in 2021.

Jul. 24: Illinois football reveals its much-awaited new uniforms ahead of the 2023 season.

Jack Jungmann // TCR

Jul. 25: Bret Bielema hires Jim Leonhard as a senior football analyst. The former Wisconsin defensive coordinator & interim head coach played under Bielema in Madison.

Jul. 28: Former Illini DB Devon Witherspoon — a first-round pick in April’s NFL Draft — signs his rookie contract with the Seattle Seahawks. The fifth-overall pick agreed to a four-year deal worth $31.86 million, along with a $20 million signing bonus.

Aug. 3: University of Illinois alumnus Dr. John Coyne earmarks a $1 million donation for the Department of Intercollegiate Athletics (DIA) to establish the Dr. John Coyne Strength and Conditioning Center.

“We take great pride in being a development program...and there is no area more important in impacting their development than strength and conditioning,” said Bret Bielema. “We are grateful for his [Coyne’s] tremendous support of Fighting Illini Football and providing the best-in-class strength training facility that our players benefit from here at Smith Center.”

Aug. 4: The Oregon Ducks & Washington Huskies announce they will be the latest Pac-12 members to defect from the conference and join the Big Ten in 2024.

Oregon & Washington will join former Pac-12 rivals USC & UCLA as Big Ten compatriots, ballooning the conference to 18 (!) schools and giving the B1G a true coast-to-coast footprint. This move is representative of the “new normal” of major college athletics, rivalries and traditions be damned.

Aug. 12: Illinois football surpasses 10,000 new season tickets for 2023. At least those folks saw a terrific return on their investment...RIGHT?

Aug. 14: Illini golfers Piercen Hunt & Jackson Buchanan compete in the 123rd U.S. Amateur. Hunt qualified for Match Play after a two-round stroke play score of 6-under par but lost in the Round of 64. Buchanan, the 2023 National Runner-Up, carded a two-round score of -7 in stroke play and advanced to the Round of 32 in Match Play.

Aug. 17: Illini soccer kicks off its season — and the 2023-24 athletic year — with a 3-2 victory over Loyola Chicago in Champaign.

Makena Silber scored Illinois’ first goal of the season in the 9th minute, Maeve Jones added a goal in the 31st minute, and freshman Mya Archibald netted her first collegiate goal in the 85th minute.

Aug. 18: Illinois men’s basketball announces it will host the Kansas Jayhawks in a charity exhibition game in October. Head coach Brad Underwood said proceeds from the game will be donated to the Hawai’i Community Foundation Maui Strong Fund.

Aug. 21: Ole Miss transfer Luke Altmyer is named Illinois’ starting QB.

TCR Staff

Results were mixed, as Altmyer ultimately finished with 1,883 passing yards, 13 TD and 10 INT in nine games. The sophomore signal-caller also led Illinois in rushing three different times in 2023, registering 282 yards and 3 TDs.

Aug. 21: Defensive tackle Jer’Zhan “Johnny” Newton is selected to the Associated Press Preseason All-America team.

Newton was also on preseason watch lists for the Bednarik Award, Lombardi Award, Nagurski Award, and Walter Camp Player of Year Award.

Aug. 24: Illini soccer upsets No. 17 Xavier, 1-0, in Cincinnati. Lia Howard scored in the 42nd minute, and the Orange & Blue start 2-0-0 for the fourth straight season.

Aug. 25: Champaign’s Memorial Stadium is among the venues named in a federal initiative called the Congressional Historic Stadium Caucus. The mission of the group is to help enhance and upgrade the infrastructure of stadiums “deemed to have historic value to their communities.”

Other venues named by the caucus include The Rose Bowl, UW-Madison’s Camp Randall Stadium, and Penn State’s Beaver Stadium.

Aug. 28: Former Illini basketball player Da’Monte Williams is sworn in as a police officer in his hometown of Peoria. DMW played in a program-record 159 games from 2017-22 and is the son of Illini hoops legend Frank Williams.

Sep. 2: Caleb Griffin boots a 29-yard field goal in the final seconds to lead Illinois to a season-opening 30-28 win over the Toledo Rockets.

Luke Altmyer connected with Casey Washington on a 33-yard pitch-and-catch on 4th down to extend the Illini’s game-winning drive.

Sep. 5: Miles Scott is named Big Ten Co-Defensive Player of the Week. The former walk-on receiver-turned safety recorded a pick-six in Illinois’ comeback victory versus Toledo.

Sep. 8: Kansas shreds Illinois’ defense for 539 total yards and 27 first downs in their 34-23 victory in Lawrence. The Jayhawks led 28-7 at halftime and 34-6 late in the third quarter.

Sep. 10: 9th-ranked Illini men’s golf opens its season with a victory in the Sahalee Players Championship in Sammamish, Wash. Illinois carded a 54-hole team score of 863 (-1) to win by eight shots over No. 2 Arizona State. True freshman Max Herendeen finished at 5-under par to lead the team in his college debut.

Sep. 16: Luke Altmyer throws four interceptions in three quarters as Penn State defeats Illinois 30-13.

John Paddock replaced Altmyer in the fourth quarter, throwing a late TD pass to freshman wideout Malik Elzy.

Sep. 23: Illinois overcomes a 10-0 first quarter deficit to defeat Florida Atlantic, 23-17.

Isaiah Williams had eight catches for 120 yards, tight end Griffin Moore caught his first career TD, and Luke Altmyer threw for a season-best 303 yards in Illinois’ final non-conference game.

Running back Aiden Laughery scored his first career TD in Illinois’ win versus Florida Atlantic.
Jack Jungmann // TCR

Sep. 24: Two first-half goals propel the Orange & Blue to a 2-1 win over No. 19 Michigan, Illinois’ second victory over a ranked opponent.

Sep. 30: The Fighting Illini fall to 0-2 in Big Ten play after a 44-19 loss to Purdue. After leading 16-13 at halftime the Boilermakers outscored Illinois 21-0 in the third quarter to pull away.

Oct. 5: Guard Makira Cook is named to the preseason All-Big Ten team. The Dayton transfer averaged 18.3 points, 4.2 assists, and 3.4 rebounds for Illinois in 2022-23.

Oct. 5: Fighting Illini & Chicago Bears legend Dick Butkus passes away at age 80.

Butkus played at Illinois from 1962-64 and for the Bears from 1965-73. He was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1979, the College Football Hall of Fame in 1983, and was an inaugural inductee into the Illinois Athletics Hall of Fame in 2016.

Oct. 6: The Nebraska Cornhuskers defeat Illinois, 20-7, in Champaign. Nebraska scored two TDs in a span of 10 seconds to take a 17-0 lead in the second quarter, and the Illini dropped to 0-3 in conference play.

Oct. 10: Men’s golfer Jackson Buchanan finishes tied for first at the Purdue Fall Invitational. Buchanan made four birdies over the final 13 holes to finish with a 9-under par 204.

Oct. 13: Defensive lineman Johnny Newton is named a Midseason All-American by Pro Football Focus.

Oct. 14: Caleb Griffin kicks a 43-yard field goal as time expires as Illinois upsets the Maryland Terrapins, 27-24. The Fighting Illini — 13.5-point underdogs entering the game — earned their first Big Ten win of the season.

Oct. 17: Illini men’s and women’s basketball each begin the season in the AP Top 25. Illinois is the only Big Ten school to have both programs ranked in the preseason poll.

Oct. 17: Golfer Timmy Crawford claims first place at the Flyer Invitational in Dayton, Ohio. The fifth-year senior carded a 197 (-16) over three rounds, the second-lowest 54-hole tournament score in program history.

The Illini finished the event at 11-under par, one stroke behind tournament winner Marquette.

Oct. 21: Wisconsin outscores Illinois 18-0 in the fourth quarter to stun the Illini, 25-21, at Memorial Stadium, a game in which the Illini had a 96.7% chance to win in the second half.

Illinois squandered a 21-7 lead in the 4th quarter — on Homecoming — in its 25-21 loss to Wisconsin.
Ron Johnson-USA TODAY Sports

Oct. 23: The team of Karlis Ozolins & Hunter Heck win the doubles title at the ITA Midwest Regional Championships, defeating Ohio State’s J.J. Tracy & Alexander Bernard (6-1, 6-2).

Oct. 23: Fighting Illini men’s golf coach Mike Small receives a contract extension until 2029. The former National Coach of the Year has led Illinois to 13 Big Ten titles.

Oct. 27: Cross Country competes at the Big Ten Championships in Madison, Wisc. Senior Jack Roberts finished ninth in the men’s 8K, earning second-team All-Big Ten honors with a time of 24:38.6.

Oct. 29: Men’s basketball knocks off preseason No. 1 Kansas in an exhibition contest at State Farm Center. Terrence Shannon Jr. scored 28 points for the Illini in the 82-75 win.

Oct. 29: Former Illini QB Tommy DeVito makes his NFL debut, replacing an injured Tyrod Taylor in the New York Giants’ Week 8 matchup against the New York Jets.

DeVito would score his first career TD in the third quarter to give the G-Men the lead:

Oct. 29: Volleyball upsets 16th-ranked Purdue in four sets to win its fifth straight match.

Nov. 2: The University of Illinois announces a contract extension for AD Josh Whitman, keeping him in Champaign through 2031.

Nov. 3: Johnny Newton is named a semifinalist for the Lombardi Award, given annually to college football’s best lineman of the year.

Nov. 4: QB John Paddock relieves an injured Luke Altmyer late in the fourth quarter against the Minnesota Golden Gophers. The Ball State transfer finishes 3-for-3 for 85 yards and the game-winning TD, as the Illini come from behind for an improbable 27-26 victory in Minneapolis.

Nov. 4: The Illinois swim team sets five pool records and won nine event titles in a 156-106 victory over Vanderbilt.

Nov. 6: Men’s basketball defeats Eastern Illinois, 80-52, in the regular season opener. True freshman guard Dravyn Gibbs-Lawhorn finished with a game-high 18 points in just 20 minutes of play.

Nov. 6: Head coach Brad Underwood announces that sophomore guard Sencire Harris will redshirt the 2023-24 season. Underwood said of Harris’ decision:

“He’s been an unselfish guy that has put himself in a position that he’s always going to play minutes, but he wants to be something special. And to do that, he’s got to gain weight and continue to grow his offensive game.”

NCAA Basketball: Northwestern at Illinois Ron Johnson-USA TODAY Sports

Harris played all 33 games last season, averaging 3.7 points and 2.1 rebounds.

Nov. 8: Women’s basketball tips off its regular season with an 81-61 home victory over Morehead State. Genesis Bryant led the Illini with a career-high 32 points on 12-for-16 shooting.

Nov. 9: Men’s and women’s basketball announce their class of 2024 signees.

Top-100 recruit Morez Johnson officially signed with the Fighting Illini after verbally committing in 2021. The 6-foot-9 forward from Chicago is a four-star recruit and the top-rated 2024 prospect in Illinois.

Five-star forward Berry Wallace signs with Illinois women’s hoops. The Pickerington, Ohio, native is the 20th-ranked recruit by ESPN, Shauna Green’s highest-rated signee at Illinois.

Nov. 10: Cross country runner Jack Roberts places 10th overall in the men’s 10k at the NCAA Midwest Regionals. The Downers Grove native’s time of 30:27.6 was good enough to qualify for the NCAA Championships.

Nov. 10: DT Johnny Newton is named a semifinalist for the Lott IMPACT Trophy.

Nov. 11: John Paddock throws for 507 yards — the second-most in school history — in his first start of the season, a thrilling 45-42 overtime win against the Indiana Hoosiers.

TCR // Brad Repplinger

Paddock’s 316 first-half passing yards were also the most by an Illini QB in a half since Nathan Scheelhaase in 2013.

Nov. 11: Women’s basketball shoots 52% from the floor and forces 21 turnovers, but is unable to capitalize late, falling 71-67 to Marquette.

Nov. 11: Men’s basketball beats Oakland, 64-53, at SFC. Grad transfer Quincy Guerrier notched his first double-double as an Illini (13 points, 10 rebounds) just one day after the birth of his daughter, Natalia.

Nov. 13: John Paddock is named B1G Offensive Player of the Week.

Nov. 13: Johnny Newton is announced as a semifinalist for the Chuck Bednarik Award for the second consecutive season.

Nov. 14: No. 23 Illinois drops its first game of the season, falling 71-64 to the Marquette Golden Eagles. Reigning Big East Player of the Year Tyler Kolek torched the Illini for 24 points, 6 rebounds, and 4 assists.

Nov. 15: Newton is chosen as one of five finalists for the Nagurski Trophy, awarded annually to the best defensive player in FBS college football.

Nov. 15: Women’s basketball blows out St. Peter’s, 103-33 (not a typo!), on Field Trip Day at State Farm Center. The young students in attendance were a tad bit excited:

Nov. 16: Even more plaudits pour in for Johnny Newton, who is also named a semifinalist for the Outland Trophy, given to college football’s top interior lineman. Newton is the first Illini player nominated as a semifinalist since Moe Gardner in 1989.

Nov. 16: Suvana Baskar sets a school-record time in the 100-meter backstroke (53.90 seconds) at the Boilermaker Invite in West Lafayette, Ind.

Nov. 17: Illini swimming breaks three more program records at the Boilermaker Invite.

  • 200m medley relay - Suvana Baskar, Kylee Sessions, Logan Kuehne, Lily Olson (1:39.37)
  • 100m butterfly - Sydney Stoll (54.24)
  • 100m backstroke - Suvana Baskar (53.66)

Nov. 18: Women’s basketball squares off with the Notre Dame Fighting Irish in the Citi Shamrock Classic in Washington, D.C., Illinois’ first nationally-televised game since 2002.

Genesis Bryant scored 31 points, and Makira Cook added 14 for Illinois in her season debut. No. 18 Notre Dame defeated the Illini, 79-68.

Nov. 18: Illinois relinquishes another fourth-quarter lead, losing 15-13 to the No. 16 Iowa Hawkeyes at Kinnick Stadium.

TCR // Brad Repplinger

Kaleb Johnson’s scored the go-ahead 30-yard TD run with 4:43 left, and the Hawkeyes defeated the Fighting Illini for the ninth time in the last 10 matchups.

Nov. 18: Former Illini hoops great Roger Powell returns to Champaign, this time as head coach of Valparaiso University. The Beacons led Illinois 45-38 at the break, but No. 23 Illinois outscored Valpo 49-19 in the second half to win 87-64.

Nov. 18: Jack Roberts competes at the NCAA Cross Country Championships in Charlottesville, Va. The senior crossed in a time 31:07.4, finishing 157th.

Nov. 18: Volleyball completes a sweep of Michigan (25-13, 25-19, 25-19) on Senior Day. Following the win, Illini outside hitter Raina Terry announced she’d be returning for a fifth season.

Terry paced the Illini with 539 kills, finished second with 36 service aces, and was named First Team All-Big Ten for the second straight season.

Nov. 19: Men’s basketball cruises to an 88-60 win over Southern University.

Nov. 21: Defensive linemen Johnny Newton & Keith Randolph officially declare for the NFL Draft, forgoing their final years of eligibility.

Nov. 24: Men’s hoops dominates Western Illinois, 84-52, in the schools’ first matchup in TWENTY YEARS.

Nov. 25: Illinois’ bid for back-to-back bowl games comes up short in a 45-43 loss to the Northwestern Wildcats at Memorial Stadium.

Senior receiver Casey Washington’s monster game (9 catches, 218 yards, 3 TDs) was not enough to overcome a pair of costly fourth-quarter turnovers, and Illinois finished the season a disappointing 5-7 (3-6 Big Ten).

Nov. 26: Five Fighting Illini — Genesis Bryant (21), Adalia McKenzie (15), Kendall Bostic (12), Camille Hobby (12) & Gretchen Dolan (11) — tally double-digit points in Illinois’ 90-58 win over Canisius in Champaign.

Nov. 28: Johnny Newton is named B1G Defensive Lineman of the Year and Defensive Player of the Year. The 6-foot-2, 295-pounder was first among Big Ten defensive tackles in sacks (7.5) and led the country in QB pressures (44). Newton also led the nation with a program-record four blocked kicks.

Newton is the fourth Illini to be honored with Big Ten DPOY, the first since Dana Howard in 1994.

The Champaign Room

Other Illinois defenders and special teamers received Big Ten laurels, as well:

  • DT Keith Randolph Jr.: All-Big Ten Third Team (media), All-Big Ten Honorable Mention (coaches)
  • DB Xavier Scott: All-Big Ten Honorable Mention (coaches and media)
  • LB Dylan Rosiek: All-Big Ten Honorable Mention (coaches and media)
  • OLB Seth Coleman: All-Big Ten Honorable Mention (coaches and media)
  • K Caleb Griffin: All-Big Ten Honorable Mention (coaches and media)
  • P Hugh Robertson: All-Big Ten Honorable Mention (media)
  • Return Specialist Isaiah Williams All-Big Ten Honorable Mention (coaches and media)

Nov. 29: Isaiah Williams is named First Team All-Big Ten, the first wide receiver to do so since 2011. I-Will led the conference with 82 catches and finished second with 1,055 yards.

Other offensive players receiving conference honors are shown below:

  • OT Julian Pearl (All-Big Ten Honorable Mention)
  • OT Isaiah Adams (All-Big Ten Honorable Mention)
  • OG Zy Crisler (All-Big Ten Honorable Mention)
  • OG Josh Gesky (All-Big Ten Honorable Mention)
  • C Josh Kruetz (All-Big Ten Honorable Mention)
  • RB Kaden Feagin (All-Big Ten Honorable Mention)
  • QB John Paddock (All-Big Ten Honorable Mention)

Nov. 29: Women’s basketball remains unbeaten at home with an 89-50 victory versus Central Connecticut State. The Fighting Illini outscored the Blue Devils 48-21 in the paint and outrebounded the visitors 50-20.

Adalia McKenzie & Kendall Bostic combined for 38 points in the W.

Nov. 30: Running back Reggie Love III enters the transfer portal. The redshirt junior from St. Louis finished the 2023 season with a career-best 567 rushing yards and 4 TDs.

Dec. 4: Cornerback Tahveon “Taz” Nicholson enters the transfer portal.

Taz completed his junior season with 36 tackles, six pass breakups and two forced fumbles, but also committed a team-high nine penalties for 119 yards.

Dec. 5: Tight end Tip Reiman declares for the NFL Draft. The 6-foot-5, 270-pound junior tallied 19 receptions for 203 yards and 3 TDs in 2023.

Dec. 5: Terrence Shannon Jr. and Marcus Domask (pictured) score 33 points each as No. 20 Illinois defeats No. 11 Florida Atlantic, 98-89, in the Jimmy V Classic at Madison Square Garden.

The grad transfer from Southern Illinois scored 25 points in the second half on 11-of-15 shooting.

NCAA Basketball: Jimmy V Classic-Florida Atlantic at Illinois Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

Overall, the Fighting Illini shot 63.2% (36-57) from the field, 40% (8-20) from three, and 90% (18-20) from the foul line.

Dec. 6: Women’s basketball remains unbeaten at home, defeating Northern Kentucky, 74-52. Junior forward Brynn Shoup-Hill scored a career-high 15 points for the Illini, while Kendall Bostic added 8 points and a season-high 15 rebounds.

Dec. 9: Playing their third game away from Champaign in eight days, No. 20 Illinois falls to the 17th-ranked Tennessee Volunteers, 86-79.

After combining for 66 points against FAU, the duo of Marcus Domask & Terrence Shannon Jr. combined for just 28 points on 7-for-27 shooting (1/11 3-pt FG).

Dec. 10: Women’s basketball scores only 16 first half points on 17.9% shooting in its Big Ten opener, an 84-48 loss to the Michigan Wolverines.

Dec. 10: Former Illinois RB Chase Brown records his first-career NFL touchdown.

Brown’s Cincinnati Bengals went on to defeat the Indianapolis Colts, 34-14.

Dec. 11: Tommy DeVito goes 10-for-11 with 110 yards and a TD in the second half as the New York Giants upset the Green Bay Packers, 24-22, on Monday Night Football.

Dec. 17: 16th-ranked Illinois begins the game on a 14-0 run en route to a 74-57 win over Colgate at State Farm Center.

Four Illini — Coleman Hawkins (16), Quincy Guerrier (15), Marcus Domask (15), Terrence Shannon Jr. (14) — scored in double figures, and Illinois outrebounded the Raiders 43-25.

Dec. 17: Genesis Bryant’s four fourth-quarter three-pointers are not enough to tame the Tigers in the women’s Braggin’ Rights game, a 66-63 loss to Missouri.

Dec. 20: Women’s basketball drops its third straight, losing to Arkansas, 60-59, in the West Palm Beach Classic. Kendall Bostic (15 points, 10 rebounds) and Makira Cook (17 points, 11 rebounds) each notched double-doubles for the Illini.

Dec. 20: Bret Bielema & Illinois football receive pledges from 19 members of the 2024 class on National Signing Day.

TCR Staff

Some of the headliners of the Class of 2024 include:

  • OL Andrew “AJ” Dennis
  • RB Ca’Lil Valentine
  • QB Trey Petty
  • ATH Tysean Griffin
  • DL Eddie Tuerk
  • DB Vernon Woodward

Our colleague Pleas Honeywood has a terrific Signing Day recap HERE.

Dec. 20: Fighting Illini football also receives a pair of commitments via the transfer portal, former New Mexico OT J.D. Davis, and former Michigan State OL Kevin Wigenton II.

The 6-foot-5, 307-pound Davis was First Team All-Mountain West in 2023 and is likely to be a plug-and-play starter at left tackle. Wigenton started three games for the Spartans this past season and was high school teammates with current Illini OL Zach Aamland and TE Owen Anderson.

Dec. 22: The University of Illinois & University of Missouri announce a six-year extension in the annual men’s Braggin’ Rights series, keeping the annual matchup in St. Louis until at least 2029.

As for the game itself...

Illinois annihilates Mizzou, 97-73, in the 2023 edition of the rivalry. Terrence Shannon Jr. finished with a double-double (30 pts, 11 rebs), Quincy Guerrier scored a career-high 28 points, while Coleman Hawkins chipped in 15 points & seven rebounds to lead the Illini to victory.

Dec. 28: Terrence Shannon Jr. is suspended indefinitely from all team activities after being arrested and charged with rape. The incident allegedly took place while Shannon was visiting Lawrence, Kan., for Illinois’ football game versus the Jayhawks.

Dec. 29: Men’s basketball blows out Fairleigh Dickinson, 104-71, in its first game without Shannon.

Six players scored in double-figures (Dain Dainja, Justin Harmon, Coleman Hawkins, Marcus Domask, Ty Rodgers, Quincy Guerrier), and three Illini — Guerrier (14 pts, 11 rebs), Domask (11 pts, 11 ast), Rodgers (10 pts, 15 rebs) — registered a double-double as No. 11 Illinois wrapped up the calendar year at 10-2 (1-0 B1G).

Dec. 29: Illini wrestlers Edmond Ruth (174 pounds) and Luke Luffman (285) reach the semifinals of the 59th annual Ken Kraft Midlands Championships in Hoffman Estates, Ill.

Dec. 30: Ruth finishes atop the podium, defeating Harvard’s Philip Conigliaro by major decision to claim his second consecutive Midlands title.

Luke Luffman (285) fell in the championship match, dropping a 2-1 decision to NC State’s Isaac Trumble.

True freshman Kannon Webster finished third at 149 pounds, Danny Pucino placed fourth at 141 pounds, and Chris Moore took sixth place at 165 pounds.

Dec. 31: Former Illinois DB Sydney Brown, now with the Philadelphia Eagles, runs back an interception 98 yards for a touchdown against the Arizona Cardinals.

Dec. 31: Women’s basketball concludes 2023 with a 77-71 loss to No. 16 Indiana in Bloomington.

Makira Cook (24) and Kendall Bostic (18) scored season-highs for Illinois. Mackenzie Holmes scored 30 points (10/14 FG) for the Hoosiers, who defeated the Illini for the sixteenth straight time.

Shauna Green’s club ends the calendar year at a disappointing 6-6 (0-2 B1G).

Happy New Year, Illini fans. What are your favorite moments from 2023? Share in the comments below. Cheers!

Check out our review of the first six months here.