Terrence Shannon Jr. unleashes 30-point performance for Illinois in blowout victory over Monmouth

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Sydney Laput

Senior gaurd Terrence Shannon Jr. shoots from the three point line during the second half of the game against Kansas City on Friday.

By James Kim, Assistant Sports Editor

It was a fun night of college basketball for Illini fans on Monday. No. 19 Illinois hit triple digits against a poor Monmouth team during a game that concluded 103-65. There were numerous highlights for the Illini such as freshman guard Jayden Epps finishing with 21 points or another strong night off the bench by redshirt sophomore forward Dain Dainja.

However, the lasting memory from the blowout victory was undoubtedly senior guard Terrence Shannon Jr.’s career-high 30-point performance.

“Terrence was obviously on a different planet,” head coach Brad Underwood said. “He showed why he’s one of the best players in the country. The first statistic I always look for with him is fouls drawn, and 10 of them is a pretty big number.”

Shannon continued to get to the free-throw line as he has throughout Illinois’ first three games. The senior is shooting with 81.3% accuracy on 32 total free-throw attempts so far and hit 8-10 against Monmouth. Shots from the line aside, however, the Texas Tech transfer simply shot much better on Monday night than he had previously. Shannon shot 9-14 from the field and 4-9 from three against the Hawks. Compared to 4-12 shooting from the game before against Kansas City, this comes as a drastic improvement.

A large aspect of Shannon’s game stems from his explosive speed and strength during transition plays. The guard was too big and too powerful for Monmouth. His unstoppable drives to the hoop not only led to drawn fouls but also quick buckets for the Illini. The fast pace that Shannon plays with led to high praise from Underwood, who sees similarities between the senior and Illinois legend Ayo Dosumnu, particularly on breakaways.

“They’re similar,” Underwood said. “I think they’re every bit as fast, and Ayo was just so elite. I think that Terrence has a chance to accomplish everything that Ayo did in terms of nationally being one of the top players in transition. Ayo probably doesn’t pull up and shoot it as well as Terrence does in transition, but we’re also talking about a guy who’s starting for the Bulls. He’s pretty good, but Terrence is definitely right there.”

Shannon was the most dangerous player on both ends of the court for Illinois. The senior led the team in rebounds with eight, racked up the second-most assists with four and recorded both a block and steal each on the night. Oh, and of course there’s the fact that Shannon dropped 30 points, the most he’s ever scored in one game.

Mentioned previously, the fierce nature of Shannon’s play is lethal in scoring points. If he isn’t able to finish at the rim there is a good chance that the senior will draw a foul and this talent is something Shannon hopes to continue gaining national recognition for.

“I look at Giannis (Antetokounmpo) in transition,” Shannon said. “He’s unstoppable in transition. Me, I know I’m either too strong for the opponent or too fast. I just look to get in, make contact and try to finish. I was talking to coach Fletch last game and said I’m going to try and lead the nation in fouls drawn and free throws. That’s my goal and my teammates know if they get the ball to me in transition, I just go to work.”

 

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