#11 Illini Rout FDU Without Leading Scorer Shannon, 104-71

By IlliniGuys Staff

December 29, 2023

(Cover photo courtesy Illinois Athletics)

CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - Dain Dainja scored a game-high 19 points as 11th ranked Illinois ran past Fairleigh Dickinson 104-71 Friday night in their first game without leading scorer Terrence Shannon Jr.

The unanimous All-Big Ten performer and All-American candidate has been suspended indefinitely from all team activities after a Kansas district attorney filed rape charges stemming from an incident in mid-September on Wednesday.

The Knights didn't come close to the caliber of competition the Illini will face the rest of the way as they resume Big Ten play and they offered little resistance for an Illinois offense that topped 90 points in consecutive games for the first time since the start of the 2020-21 season.

The Illini (10-2) led 34-23 when reserve guard Justin Harmon entered the game and hit four consecutive three-pointers.  The Utah Valley State transfer had connected on just five shots from beyond the arc all season, but he later added a layup to single-handedly outscore FDU 14-5 in the final 2:41 of the first half.

Illinois added to its 48-28 halftime lead when Coleman Hawkins drained one of his five three-pointers to open scoring in the second half.   He and Harmon both finished with 18 points and combined to shoot 9-fo-15 from three.

Three other Illini recorded double-doubles.  Quincy Guerrier finished with 14 points and 11 rebounds, Ty Rodgers added 10 points and 15 boards for his first career double-double, and Marcus Domask came on strong in the second half to tally 11 points and a team season-high 11 assists.

It's only the third time this season that a player other than Shannon led Illinois in scoring as the team put on an offensive show overall.  Their 21 assists was a season-high and the 54 rebounds was second only to the 56 they grabbed against Valparaiso last month.

The win gives the Illini 10 wins before January 1st for the first time since 2017 and sets them up for a tough week as they re-enter Big Ten play.  Northwestern, which owns the only win this season over #1 Purdue, visits on Tuesday before Illinois travels to face the Boilermakers in West Lafayette next Friday.

Both games will likely be played without Shannon, who has an arraignment hearing in Lawrence, Kansas on January 18th and awaits a ruling from the university's Student Athlete Conduct Panel. https://illiniguys.com/the-next-step-for-terrence-shannon-jr-a-student-athlete-conduct-panel/

Stay with IlliniGuys.com for complete postgame coverage from State Farm Center.

 

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