Career Nights From Illini Stars Domask & Shannon Jr. Overwhelms No. 11 Florida Atlantic

Matt Stevens, IlliniGuys Staff Writer

December 5, 2023

Terrence Shannon Jr vs FAU 12.5.23 courtesy Illinois Athletics

NEW YORK — Illinois clearly just loves playing in the Jimmy V Classic game at Madison Square Garden.

For the second straight season, Illinois has knocked off a Top 15 program inside the place deemed ‘The World's Most Famous Arena’ as Brad Underwood’s squad took home a 98-89 victory over No. 11 Florida Atlantic on Tuesday night.

Before Tuesday night, the last win for Illinois as a ranked team vs. a ranked team came in the 2022 Jimmy V Classic when the No. 17 Illini defeated No. 2 Texas, 85-78 in overtime. The last time Illinois reached the 90-point plateau against a power conference opponent, or a ranked opponent was a 93–85 win at Michigan on February 27, 2022.

Coming off a Big Ten Conference opening win at Rutgers just two days earlier when the Illini defense was dominant, Illinois (7-1) proved they can outscore FAU - one of the nation’s most electric offensive squads. Illinois is now 26-2 all-time under its seventh-year head coach when they top the 90-point total, and the Illini are 86-20 when shooting over 45 percent from the field.

Both Marcus Domask and Terrance Shannon Jr. left New York City with a career-high point total.

Domask found an offensive rhythm in the second half as 25 of his 33 points came in the final 20 minutes of play. The graduate transfer from Southern Illinois was 15 of 21 from the field as he made 11 of 15 in the second half. The 33 points from Domask is a career high for the 22-year-old as he had three 30-plus point performances in the last two seasons for the Salukis.

Shannon Jr., the preseason first-team All-Big Ten Conference selection, finished with 33 points on 10 of 14 from the field and 11 of 13 from the foul line that came mostly on dribble-drive penetration into the paint.

In a 10-minute stretch of the second half from the 16-minute mark to six minutes remaining, Illinois saw 29 of its 32 points scored by either Domask or Shannon. From that moment on, Illinois turned a five-point deficit into a double-digit lead and never lost that lead the rest of the evening.

The Illini did a lot of its early second-half damage with Florida Atlantic’s 7-foot-1 center Vladislav Goldin was on the bench in foul trouble. The 2022-23 third-team All-Conference USA selection, who was a big factor in Florida Atlantic’s run to the Final Four, finished with 23 points but fouled out after just 19 minutes of action. FAU (6-2) was minus-17 in the 21 minutes he wasn’t on the floor.

Illinois held FAU to no points on the fast break throughout the course of the evening despite the Illini committing 14 turnovers. Illinois currently leads the nation in field goal percentage defense (33.9 percent) and ranks seventh in the NCAA in scoring defense (58.6 points per game). Illinois also leads the nation in two defensive categories via KenPom: effective field goal percentage defense (37.8 percent) and 2-point defense (36.3 percent).

The win over FAU is Illinois’ second contest of a three-game swing away from home that ends with matchups vs. two top-20 ranked opponents. The Illini return to Champaign for the rest of the week before heading to Knoxville, Tenn. for an early national television tilt on Saturday (11 a.m. CST, CBS) against No. 17 Tennessee.

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