Illinois men’s basketball breaks program record with 18 treys in win over Saint Francis (Pa.)


Photo Courtesy of Harry Figiel / Illinois Athletics

Alfonso Plummer shoots a 3-pointer in the first half of Illinois’ 106-48 win over Saint Francis (Pa.) at State Farm Center on Saturday. The Illini set a new program record with 18 triples during Saturday’s blowout win.

By Jackson Janes, Sports Editor

When reflecting on last season’s downfalls, Illinois head coach Brad Underwood mentioned his team’s struggles with its 3-point shooting. Though the Illini won the Big Ten tournament and earned a No. 1 seed in the NCAA tournament for the first time since 2005, they finished near the bottom of the country in 3-point attempts.

With under a minute to go on Saturday afternoon and Illinois already leading Saint Francis (Pa.) by 55 points, a Brandin Podziemski triple with 24 seconds left on the clock set a new Illini program record of 18 treys in its 106-48 win over the Red Flash.

The Illini were efficient, too, shooting a season-high 52.9% from behind the 3-point line, with Alfonso Plummer recording a team-high five triples while shooting 50% from deep.

“We move the ball really well,” Plummer said. “We all shoot with confidence. We’ve been practicing really well in the last few weeks, so I felt like everyone played with confidence this game.”

Jacob Grandison also registered four 3-pointers, while Trent Frazier, Luke Goode and Coleman Hawkins each had two and Da’Monte Williams, Brandin Podziemski and RJ Melendez all notched one.

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The previous record of 17 was set on Nov. 25, 2020, with the Illini recording 17 in their win over North Carolina A&T.

While Plummer is the most lethal deep-ball shooter, he went scoreless in the second half, and the Illini recorded 11 of their 18 triples in the second 20 minutes of play. Head coach Brad Underwood praised his freshmen for stepping up with Plummer in foul trouble for most of the second half.

“There’s not a bad shooter on our team,” said head coach Brad Underwood. “I’ve been waiting for Podz and Luke and RJ to get going shooting the basketball, and we saw they’re capable of.”

With Andre Curbelo still out, Illinois has heavily relied upon its 3-point shooting as of late, attempting at least 30 in three of its last four games. After shooting a season-worst 13.6% from beyond the arc in their 20-point loss to the Cincinnati Bearcats on Nov. 22, the Illini have shot over 40% from three in six of their last seven games. 

The only game in which they shot less than 40% during that stretch? Their 35-point blowout victory over the Rutgers Scarlet Knights on Dec. 3.

Plummer is one of the most dangerous 3-point threats in the nation, and he leads the Illini with 39 triples, while Grandison and Frazier aren’t far behind, as they have 23 and 22, respectively, though Frazier has played one fewer game.

Against Saint Francis, Illinois shot more 3-pointers than 2-pointers for the fourth time this season, attempting 34 threes and 24 twos while shooting 65.5% from the field.

With the Illini now sitting at 8-3, they will head to St. Louis on Wednesday as they try to beat the Missouri Tigers in the annual Braggin’ Rights game for the first time since 2017.



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