Sturdy's Rewind: Turtle Roadkill

By Brad Sturdy - IlliniGuys Insider/Analyst & Co-Host, IlliniGuys Sports Spectacular

February 18, 2024

(Cover photo courtesy Illinois Athletics)

The Illini got another roadkill, their first one at Maryland since the 2011-12 season as they grabbed an 88-80 win to stay alone in 2nd place in the Big Ten. Terrence Shannon scored 27 points, and Marcus Domask had 19 points and 12 rebounds to lead Illinois to their 19th win and a solid 10-4 record in conference play. Coleman Hawkins added 14 points and 7 rebounds and Justin Harmon added 10 bench points for Illinois to offset a 28-point performance from Jahmir Young. 

 

Deep Thoughts

-When Illinois lost to Maryland in Champaign they didn't have Shannon and obviously his 27 points were huge. But his defense in blocking 4 shots and forcing Jahmir Young into 8-23 shooting may have been just as important. 

-Illinois still allows too many paint touches and really needs to work on their closeouts being under control. But they used varied defenses against ball screens, post-trapped and even played some zone. With a team that isn’t great defensively, they have to vary things to be successful. 

-It was a very oddly officiated game, and neither team really knew what was and wasn’t a foul. When both teams attack the rim, it puts pressure on the officials to make calls and they were not very consistent yesterday. I counted 17 missed fouls or bad foul calls in the second half rewatch. 

-Marcus Domask may look a little bit like Rocky Balboa following some incidental contact that led to a shiner. He again showed a diverse ability to score on drives, post ups and jumpers. He also made some elite passes. 

-Illinois scored 1.250 PPP against the #7 defense in the country and are now at #4 in offensive efficiency on KenPom. They did it while shooting 5-20 from 3 and 0-8 from 3 in the 2nd half. Although this team isn’t great at any one thing offensively, they're good at everything. 

-Luke Goode continues to struggle, and it is mostly mental right now. He is trying too hard and thus is making plays that are out of character. The best thing to do is play within yourself and be the player that you are, not the player you aren’t. 

-Justin Harmon made some big plays down the stretch on both ends. He also did a nice job defensively on Young. He has been a better on ball defender and is a very valuable bench player for the Illini. 

-Ty Rodgers was a +20 in his 28 minutes, but battled foul trouble. Rodgers makes a lot of winning plays, but tends to make some mistakes on the defensive end that leads to fouls. I did like that Illinois used him more at the PF spot yesterday, actually having Domask defend the 4 man and using him as a PF on offense in the dunker spot.

 

Notable

  • Head Coach Brad Underwood earned his first win at Xfinity Center, giving him a victory at every Big Ten road venue.
  • The Illini snapped a five-game losing streak at Maryland and picked up their first Big Ten road win in College Park. 
    • The Illini's first road win at Maryland since a non-conference victory on Nov. 29, 2011.
  • Illinois' 85 points are its most ever in a game at Maryland, surpassing the 71 points scored in the team's 2011 victory.  
  • The Illini improve to 6-4 away from State Farm Center in 2023-24. Illinois and Purdue are the only Big Ten teams with winning records in road and neutral games.
  • The Illini improve to 65-29 (.691) in league games over the last five seasons, the winningest mark in the Big Ten.
  • Following Illinois' road win the Illini also have a Big Ten-leading 27 road victories (27-20, .574) in conference play since the start of 2019-20, the best mark in the league during that time.
  • Illinois shot 32-for-36 from the free-throw line as a team, including connecting on their first 10 to start the game. 
    • Illinois’ 32 free-throw makes are a season high, surpassing the 24 free-throws the team made at Tennessee (12/9/23).
    • The team's 36 attempts from the stripe also set a season high, breaking the mark of 31 set vs. Missouri (12/22/23).
  • The Illini shot 24-for-50 (.480) from the field, the team's best shooting percentage ever in a game at Maryland, surpassing the 44.3% (27-for-61) set Dec. 2, 2022.
  • Illinois posted a 19-2 edge in fast break points, the team's largest margin in that category in a single game this season.
  • Terrence Shannon Jr. scored a team-leading 27 points, including 14-for-16 from the free-throw line. 
    • Averaging 25.4 points over the last five games.
    • Has scored in double figures in 29 straight contests dating back to Jan. 31, 2023.
    • Recorded four blocks, his most in a game since a career-high five blocks vs. Colgate (12/17/23), and the most blocks he has recorded in a Big Ten game in his career.
    • His 27 points are the most ever by an Illini at Maryland, eclipsing Sam Maniscalco's 24-point effort on Nov. 29, 2011. 
    • Registered a career-high 14 made free throws.
    • His 16 free-throw attempts equaled his most in a single game in his career.   
  • Marcus Domask recorded his third double-double of the season with 19 points and a season-high 12 rebounds. 
    • Has scored in double figures for the 16th straight game
    • Eclipsed 2,000-career points in his collegiate career with his 15th point of day on a jumper in the lane to give the Illini a 51-47 lead with 13:51 left in the second half. 
    • It marked his second points-rebounds double-double of the year, after posting 16 points and 10 rebounds vs. Indiana (1/27/24). He also has a points-assists double-double with 11 points and 11 assist vs. FDU (12/29/23).
    • His 12 rebounds are also the most by an Illini in a game at Maryland, moving past the 10 originally set by Robert Archibald (11/27/01) and matched by Maverick Morgan (3/3/16)
    • Shot 7-for-14 from the field, the sixth time in his last eight games in which he has shot 50% or better. 
  • Coleman Hawkins tallied 14 points, including a perfect 5-for-5 from the free-throw line, with seven rebounds. 
    • Hawkins has scored in double figures in 15 of the last 17 games, including each of the last four games. 
    • Hawkins' second rebound of the game, a defensive board at the 15:14 mark of the first half, marked the 500th of his Illini career. 
  • Justin Harmon posted 10 points and three rebounds in 26 minutes off the bench. 

 

The Wrap

This is a massive road win and the first win for Brad Underwood in College Park. Illinois has solidified itself as the 2nd team in the Big Ten and now have an opportunity to string a couple more wins together, beginning at Happy Valley on Wednesday. As other teams lose, they have a great chance to slide into a 3, or even a 2 seed, with a strong finish. 

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