Domask Leads Record-Setting Effort As Illini Rout Morehead State in NCAA Opener

By IlliniGuys Staff

March 21, 2024

(Cover photo courtesy Illinois Athletics)

OMAHA, Neb. - Marcus Domask delivered the first triple-double in Illinois NCAA Tournament history and Terrence Shannon Jr. became the school's all-time leading single-season scorer as the 10th ranked Illini routed Morehead State 85-69 in the tourney opener for both schools Thursday afternoon.

The Illini bench roared in approval as Domask drained a dramatic three-pointer with 2:57 left in the game to finish with 12 points, 11 rebounds, and 10 assists.  He becomes the first player since Murray State's Ja Morant in 2019 to post a triple-double in the NCAA Tournament.  It was the fifth triple-double overall in school history, joining Mark Smith, Sergio McClain, Ayo Dosunmu, and Coleman Hawkins in that rare fraternity.

Shannon scored 26 points to pass Don Freeman as Illinois' all-time single-season scoring leader with 669 points despite missing six games due to suspension during the season.  He's also on the verge of setting the all-time two-year Illini scoring mark as his 1,203 points is just shy of Malcolm Hill's record of 1,217 set in 2015-17.

The first-team All-Big Ten star has been on a tear during the Illini's five-game winning streak - which equals their longest this season, averaging 30.6 points per game, including a career-high and Big Ten Tournament record 40 points in the win over Nebraska last Saturday.

Domask had recorded three double-doubles during the season, but hadn't put together a double-digit assist night since dishing out 11 dimes in the win over Florida Atlantic in December.

Dain Dainja came off the bench to score a season-high 21 points and sparked the decisive Illinois run.  Down 45-44 at the first media timeout of the second half at 15:58, Dainja scored 14 points in a 24-6 Illini spurt as they took a 68-51 lead and the Eagles never got any closer until the final minute.

Coleman Hawkins added 10 points for Illinois. Morehead State (26-9) was led by Riley Minix with 27 points.

Illinois (27-8) will now face 11-seed Duquesne in Saturday's second round matchup.  The Dukes upset 6th seeded BYU 71-67 earlier in the day.

Stay with IlliniGuys.com for complete postgame coverage from Omaha.

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