Illinois player grades against Rutgers

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Illini sophomore guard Alan Griffin helps Illinois junior guard Trent Frazier after he picks up an offensive foul during the second half of Illinois’ game against Michigan State at State Farm Center in Champaign, IL on Tuesday, Feb. 11.

By Alec Busse, Staff Writers

Rutgers beat No. 22 Illinois 72-57 on Saturday, extending its home win-streak to 17 on the season. Illinois kept it close until a six-minute-long scoring drought in the second half when the Illini fell into a hole too deep to climb out of. Illinois needed players to step-up in the absence of sophomore guard Ayo Dosunmu, but the individual Illini didn’t contribute at the level needed. 

Trent Frazier: D

With Dosunmu’s condition being day-to-day for Saturday’s game, junior guard Trent Frazier would need to increase production from the field and deep. But Frazier didn’t provide the goods for Illinois on Saturday. The junior shot below 20% from the field.

Andrés Feliz: C

Andrés Feliz took five shots in the first half, but only one of them was a corner three. The senior guard came in playing some of his best ball on the season averaging close to 15 points in the last five games. Feliz didn’t provide much in the first half, and it wasn’t enough. Feliz can’t be expected to score 15 points every night, but if Frazier is producing and Dosunmu is out, Feliz needs to get creative and drive to the basket. 

Alan Griffin: B

Sophomore guard Alan Griffin was one of few who played a solid game for the entire 40 minutes. Griffin finished with 14 points and snagged six rebounds. Griffin might be Illinois’ best scorer if Dosunmu isn’t able to play, and he proved it on Saturday. Griffin is Illinois’ second-best rebounder after freshman center Kofi Cockburn. Griffin might stay in the starting lineup in place of fellow sophomore forward Giorgi Bezanishvili the rest of the season, and being consistent is a big reason for that. 

Da’Monte Williams: D

Junior guard Da’Monte Williams didn’t provide much for Illinois on Saturday in his 16 minutes on the court. Williams shot the ball just once and only grabbed one rebound. Williams wasn’t horrible on the defense side, but he needs to provide something on the offensive end, especially without Dosunmu. 

Kofi Cockburn: B

Cockburn used his massive frame to grab four offensive boards on before the 12-minute mark of the first half, but he only got back up to convert on one of the rebounds. Teams have been tending to collapse onto the freshman when he gets an offensive rebound, which makes it hard for Cockburn to go back up and finish strong at the rim. In the second half, Illinois didn’t go to Cockburn on the offensive end, despite being a good option inside with how poorly the Illini shot it in the second half. 

Giorgi Bezanishvili: C

The sophomore came off the bench for the first time in his 57-game career after playing one of his worst games in an Illini uniform on Tuesday against Michigan State. Bezanishvili buried back-to-back baseline hook shots, which looked like something he did a lot last season. Bezhanishvili didn’t do more than that, but he isn’t a bad option off the bench, especially if staggered with Cockburn. 

Tevian Jones: D

For the second consecutive game, sophomore guard Tevian Jones came off the bench before senior Kipper Nichols. Underwood said Jones has been making fewer mistakes and playing better in practice. Earning consistent playing time starts in practice for Underwood’s teams, and Jones may finally be figuring it out in practice. However, he isn’t figuring it out on the court in games. Jones was 2-8 from the field, with both buckets being threes. The shots take Illinois out of there rhythm offensively, and he doesn’t shoot a high percentage either. 

Tyler Underwood: N/A

Senior Tyler Underwood had two minutes in the first half but didn’t record a stat. 

Kipper Nichols: C

The senior only got three minutes on Saturday, but he scored once. Nichols has seen his minutes cut in favor of Jones, and until Jones figures out a role Nichols should get more minutes. 

Jermaine Hamlin: N/A

Hamlin received two minutes at the end of the game but didn’t record a stat. 

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