Illini Overcome Cold Starts To Put Down Hoosiers, 70-62

By IlliniGuys Staff

January 27, 2024

(Cover photo courtesy Illinois Athletics)

CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - Marcus Domask put up a double-double with 16 points and a season-high ten rebounds as 10th ranked Illinois survived one of its worst shooting nights of the season in holding off Indiana's upset bid, 70-62 at State Farm Center Saturday afternoon.

The win keeps the Illini (15-5, 6-3 Big Ten) within two games of conference-leading Wisconsin and two games ahead of most of the league as they remain one of four teams (Purdue, Northwestern) with three losses or less in league play.

It was the second game in a row that Illinois missed more than half its layups, going 9-of-20 inside in the game and relying on seven three-pointers and a five-point edge at the free throw line to eke out the victory.

Illinois opened the game by missing 14 of its first 17 shots (18 percent) to allow Indiana to build a 14-6 lead, the Illini's biggest first half deficit since falling behind 20-4 at Purdue on January 5th.  But they rallied to take a 38-34 halftime lead.

The Illini offense stayed in the locker room again in the second half.  After Domask hit a pair of dead ball free throws resulting from a Xavier Johnson technical at the end of the first half, Illinois' lone field goal in the first 7:30 minutes was a Terrence Shannon Jr. running jumper at the 18:06 mark.  That allowed Indiana to go on a 13-0 run that finally ended with a Dravyn Gibbs-Lawhorn three-pointer with 12:03 remaining.

Shannon struggled in his third game since returning from suspension.  The 6-foot-7 guard hit six free throws in the final 1:03 to key the Illini's game-ending 8-0 run, but needed those freebies to finish with 12 points and keep his double-digit scoring streak alive at 24 consecutive games.  He was a -16 in the first half, leaving the game after picking up his second foul with 8:13 left in the first half.    Illinois' offense seemed to flow better after that as they outscored the Hoosiers 26-14 in the rest of the half.

Shannon is still trying to find his rhythm since missing six games.  He averaged 21.7 points per game before the suspension; that number is down to 13.3 points per outing since.  He's hit just one of 14 three-point attempts in these three games, but is connecting on 81 percent of his free throw attempts (21-of-26) since his return.

Domask recorded his sixth career double-double and his second as an Illini.  The graduate transfer from Southern Illinois had 11 points and 11 assists against Fairleigh Dickinson last month.  He also led the Illini with four assists.

Coleman Hawkins and Luke Goode each added 11 points for Illinois.

Malik Reneau scored a game-high 21 points, but fouled out with 3:01 left.  The Hoosiers (12-8, 4-5), who played without starting center Kelel Ware, were outscored 12-6 the rest of the way.  Indiana went 0-for-9 from three-point range, the first game since February 2010 that they failed to hit at least one shot from the arc.

Illinois returns to action Tuesday night at Ohio State (6pm, Peacock).

Stay with IlliniGuys.com for complete post-game coverage.

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