#25 Illini Rally To Avoid Oakland Upset Bid

By IlliniGuys Staff

November 10, 2023

(Cover photo courtesy Joe Clark/IlliniGuys)

CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - Terrence Shannon Jr. scored 15 points and Quincy Guerrier delivered a double-double with 13 points and 10 rebounds as #25 Illinois rallied from a slow start to defeat Oakland 64-53 at State Farm Center Friday night.

The Golden Grizzles came in as a major underdog, but were confident after nearly upsetting Ohio State in Columbus in their season opener Monday night.  The visitors jumped out to an 8-0 lead, prompting Illinois coach Brad Underwood to call a timeout just 85 seconds into the game.  The Illini took the lead for the first time at 17-15 on a pair of Shannon free throws with 7:48 left in the first half.

Cold shooting at the line was again a major problem for Illinois. After going 12-for-23 on free throw attempts against Eastern Illinois in their opener, the Illini were just 8-for-16 on this night.

Despite that, Illinois (2-0) managed to take a 28-27 lead into the locker room and built that up to 35-29 in the opening minutes of the second half before Oakland rallied.  Chris Conway went on a personal 6-0 run to tie the game at 35-35.

The teams traded leads until Dain Dainja's layup at the 8:36 gave the Illini the lead for good.  They went on a 20-3 run to seal the game and avoid the home upset.

Dainja and Ty Rodgers scored 10 points each.  Oakland's Trey Townsend led all scorers with 19 points.

Illinois made only four three-pointers, but attempted only 16.  That was their lowest total since shooting only 14 at Minnesota back on January 4, 2022.

Illinois now looks ahead to its showdown with #5 Marquette Tuesday night as part of the Gavitt Games.  That game will tipoff at 7pm and can seen be on FS1.

Stay with IlliniGuys.com for complete postgame coverage.

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