By IlliniGuys Staff
January 10, 2023
(Cover photo courtesy Illinois Athletics)
LINCOLN, Neb. -- Terrence Shannon Jr. led five Illini in double figures and the Illinois defense limited Nebraska to just one field goal in the final six minutes as they scored the 76-50 victory Tuesday night.
The win is the first in an opposing arena this season for Illinois (11-5, 2-3), which scores its first consecutive victories since late November.
Illinois built a game-high 20-point lead on a Hawkins layup at 55-35, only to see the Cornhuskers (9-8, 2-4) whittle it down to 59-49 at the 6:20 mark. But the hosts didn't score another field goal the rest of the way, as the Illini outscored them 17-1 down the stretch.
Shannon was dominant on both ends of the court and his play is a major reason why the Illini seem to have broken out of their funk and put together their best back-to-back performances of the season. The Texas Tech transfer hit 10 field goals for the first time in his Illini career and added 11 rebounds for his second double-double of the season.
Compare Shannon's numbers for the season to these last two games:
Season (1st 14 games) -- 17.1 ppg, 45.1% FG, 34.2% 3-point, team record 9-5
Last 2 games ------------- 24.5 ppg, 60.7% FG, 34.2% 3-point, team record 2-0
Shannon's improved play is also the result of much better ball movement f0r Illinois. For the first time since the opening week of the season, the Illini have put together consecutive games in which they had more assists than turnovers. That's a ratio that has spelled success for last season's Big Ten co-champs; they are 7-0 this season when they record more assists than giveaways.
Jayden Epps continues to be an offensive spark off the bench with 13 points on 6-of-7 shooting. The freshman from Norfolk, Virginia has scored in double digits in 11 of 15 games this season. Matthew Mayer, RJ Melendez, and Coleman Hawkins scored 10 points each.
Illinois now returns home to host Michigan State, which upset 18th ranked Wisconsin 69-65 in Madison earlier Tuesday night. That game will be televised on FS1 and will tip off at 8pm CT.
Stay with IlliniGuys.com for more coverage on the Illinois win.
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