Virginia Tops the Illini 70-61

IlliniGuys Staff

November 20, 2022

Jayden Epps versus Virginia courtesy Joe Pickrell, IlliniGuys

Las Vegas, NV - The Fighting Illini (4-1) fell to the Virginia Cavaliers 70-61 in Las Vegas. The Illini led at the half 31-29. The veteran Cavaliers (4-0) team elevated their defensive pressure and outscored the Illini 14-3 during the last 3:26 of the game, turning a 58-56 Illini lead into the final deficit. The Cavaliers are one of the oldest teams in college basketball and they demonstrated a cool down the stretch that one would expect a veteran team to show.

The Cavaliers featured balanced scoring with Reece Beekman leading the way with 17 and both Jayden Gardner and Kihei Clark scored 12 points each. Ben Vander Plas led the Cavaliers in rebounds with 10 and he ended up with 8 points on 8-9 shots from the FT line.

The Illini were led by freshman Jayden Epps who finished with 14 points. Coleman Hawkins finished with 10 points, 3 assists, and 3 blocks. Terrance Shannon, Jr. scored 9 points with 6 assists and 4 rebounds. The Illini were led in rebounding by Dain Dainja who had 6 boards to go with his 5 points.

The pace of the game was much slower as the Cavaliers defense prevented the Illini from running. The Illini only scored 3 points off of the fastbreak and only 9 points after turnovers. In the second half, Virginia picked up the defensive pressure which resulted in 10 2nd half Illini turnovers compared to only 3 in the first half. The Cavaliers scored 15 points off of those 2nd half turnovers.

The Cavaliers had an advantage at the free throw line shooting 25-32 at the free throw line compared to 4-9 for the Illini.

The Illini play next on Friday November 25th at the State Farm Center at 8 pm central against Lindenwood. The game will be telecast on B1G+ (streaming).

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