Illinois men’s basketball falls 80-65 against Indiana, has winning streak snapped at home

Senior+guard+Terrence+Shannon+Jr.+had+an+early+layup+against+Indiana+on+Thursday%2C+making+the+score+4-0+in+favor+of+Illinois.+Illinois+couldnt+keep+up+with+the+Hoosiers%2C+as+the+final+score+was+80-65.

Jacob Slabosz

Senior guard Terrence Shannon Jr. had an early layup against Indiana on Thursday, making the score 4-0 in favor of Illinois. Illinois couldn’t keep up with the Hoosiers, as the final score was 80-65.

By James Kim, Assistant Sports Editor

After winning its last four Big Ten games, Illinois men’s basketball returned to Champaign to take on Indiana. However, the Illini’s streak was snapped after losing out against the Hoosiers by a 15-point margin.

Head coach Brad Underwood made no changes to the starting five that have been taking care of business. Senior guard Terrence Shannon Jr., freshman guard Sencire Harris, fifth-year forward Matthew Mayer, junior forward Coleman Hawkins and redshirt sophomore Dain Dainja were all the first ones on the court for the Illini.

The game started off extremely sloppy for the Illini despite promising signs early on. Harris opened the scoring for Illinois after forcing a turnover for a quick layup. Shannon added a layup soon after before the Hoosiers ignited a 12-0 run to gain an early eight-point advantage. Hawkins ended the Illini’s 3:57 scoring drought after drawing a foul and shooting 1-2 from the line.

Indiana continued to hit shots, shooting 72.7% from the floor by the 11:51 mark. Illinois, on the other hand, was shooting a mere 18.2% and found itself trailing 18-7.

Freshman guard Jayden Epps brought the Illini back within single digits with a big three-point shot. However, the Hoosier’s strong defense prevented the Illini from gathering any momentum off of Epps’ make and the visitors ignited a 13-2 run.

Junior forward Coleman Hawkins dunks on Indiana in the first half on Thursday’s game against Indiana. At that point, the Illini still trailed the Hoosiers with a score of 33-16. (Jacob Slabosz)

After another error-filled extended scoring drought, a two-handed dunk from Hawkins sparked some life back into the Illini. Shannon added two straight three-point makes before sophomore guard RJ Melendez slammed home a huge dunk off a turnover. Melendez then closed out the half on a strong note for Illinois after nailing a big three.

After falling behind by nearly 20 points, Illinois headed into halftime down by just 10 at 43-33.

Harris opened the second half scoring after a quick dish in by Hawkins. Just like in the first half, however, striking first did not translate into early momentum. Instead, the Illini fell into a 2:15 scoring drought and five minutes into the half, the Hoosiers led 55-39.

Trayce Jackson-Davis continued to find finishes in the paint against Illinois’ defense and Indiana had a 21-point lead heading into the final 10 minutes of the game.

After forcing the Hoosiers into committing back-to-back ten-second violations, the Illini sparked a 9-0 run to bring the game to within 12 points. Indiana was able to recover and kept Illinois at bay for the remainder of regulation. By the final buzzer, the scoreline read 80-65 in favor of the Hoosiers.

Shannon finished the game as the Illini’s top scorer with 26 points. The team are now 13-6 overall and 4-4 in Big Ten play.

Illinois will be back in action next Tuesday as it welcomes Ohio State to State Farm Center.

 

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