The independent student newspaper at the University of Illinois since 1871

The Daily Illini

The independent student newspaper at the University of Illinois since 1871

The Daily Illini

The independent student newspaper at the University of Illinois since 1871

The Daily Illini

The independent student newspaper at the University of Illinois since 1871

The Daily Illini

Notes, player grades from No. 9 Illinois men’s basketball’s narrow loss to No. 1 Purdue

Olivia McAfoos
Forward Quincy Guerrier makes a huge 3 pointer in the last few minutes of the game against University of Missouri on Dec. 22.

Riding the high of a four-game win streak, No. 9 Illinois men’s basketball traveled to West Lafayette, Indiana for a meeting with No. 1 Purdue. Despite falling behind early and trailing by as much as 21 points in the second half, the Illini managed to make it close down the stretch before ultimately suffering an 83-78 loss.

The Illini have a new kind of drive

Itʼs easy to be disappointed in the Illini’s performance because at numerous points in this game, they looked completely outclassed. The Boilermakers began the game on a gut-wrenching 20-4 run that seemed to seal the Illini’s fate after just eight minutes.

Purdue was lights out from distance and still secured the rebound on rare occasions where the shot didn’t fall, while turnovers hit Illinois at all of the worst moments. Culminating in a game-high 21-point deficit with 12:47 remaining, Illinois seemed to be effectively out of it.

But on the back of graduate student guard Marcus Domask, the Illini managed to begin chipping away at the Boilermakers. Junior guard Luke Goode knocked down some huge threes as well, but it was ultimately senior forward Coleman Hawkins’ massive shot to put Illinois within three points that legitimized the comeback. Despite the loss, Illinois showed an impressive amount of determination when its back was against the wall.

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Illinois’ starting five players are indicated with *.

*Marcus Domask (A+)

After putting up six points in the first half, Domask took over in the second to score 20 of his 26 total points against the Boilermakers. In Shannonʼs absence, Domask stepped up in a major way and played a pivotal role in bringing the Illini back into the contest despite being down by 21 at one point. In addition to 8-17 shooting from the field, Domask took advantage of his free throw opportunities, scoring 9-10 from the line during the late stretch that saw Illinois come within three points of the win in the final seconds.

*Quincy Guerrier (A+)

Guerrier was nothing if not consistent against Purdue. There was never a scoring explosion such as Domask’s 20-point second half, but he made shots all night long. He was active on the glass, with three of his 10 overall rebounds being on the offensive end. Despite ending the evening with four fouls, Guerrier managed to stay on the floor for a whopping 38 minutes. His 18 points were an invaluable compliment to Domask’s dominance and was good for second most on the team.

*Luke Goode (A)

In short, Goode was a primary offensive contributor to the final margin not being double digits. Half of Illinois’ eight total three pointers came from Goode, who was also dialed in on the defensive end and tied a career-high two steals. Perhaps most impressively, Goode played a career-high 35 minutes and was still unfazed.

*Coleman Hawkins (A-)

Hawkins was an excellent facilitator on Friday night. Each of his team-high six assists led to crucial buckets on top of providing solid offense himself. Much like Goode, Hawkins provided vital help from distance and accounted for 11 points overall. There were times where he experienced difficulty guarding Zach Edey, but at the end of the day he made Illinois’ most important shot of the game with just under 13 seconds to go.

*Ty Rodgers (D+)

Due to Rodgers’ hesitancy to shoot from distance, the Purdue defense was able to sag off of Rodgers and load the paint. This led to Harmon seeing much more of the floor and Rodgers being the starter with the fewest minutes (13). During his limited time, Illinois was outscored by 23 points. Rodgers shot 1-4 while reeling in two rebounds and a block.

Justin Harmon (C+)

Harmonʼs 24 minutes on the floor saw the guard shoot 2-6 from the field for five points by the end of the night. The graduate student was fairly anonymous against Purdue, but in a night where nearly everyone played poor during large stretches of the game, Harmon was by no means a sore spot on the court. He grabbed four rebounds, recorded two assists and committed three fouls by the end of regulation.

Dra Gibbs-Lawhorn (N/A)

Gibbs-Lawhorn recorded just nine minutes against the Boilermakers. He took just one shot, a step-back midrange shot that did not fall, while notching an assist and a steal. While Gibbs-Lawhorn was on the floor, Illinois outscored Purdue by 11 points.

Dain Dainja (N/A)

The redshirt junior forward recorded just six minutes against Purdue. He picked up two rebounds and a flashy assist to Harmon while on the floor.


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About the Contributors
Conor Blount
Conor Blount, Senior Sports Reporter
My name is Conor Blount. I’m a junior in aerospace engineering with a minor in computer science. I joined The Daily Illini in the summer of 2022 as a beat writer for the sports section and am now one of three assistant sports editors. My first beat was women’s tennis before I moved to women’s basketball in the spring. I also had the pleasure of covering several former Illini at the 2023 NFL draft and NBA summer league. If you have any questions, I can be reached at the email below.
James Kim
James Kim, Sports Editor
My name is James Kim and I’m a senior studying English with a minor in business. This is my third year with The Daily Illini and it’s been an amazing ride so far. When I joined in fall 2021, I began as a staff writer for the sports section where I covered women’s tennis. In spring 2022, I became an assistant sports editor and started covering soccer and Illinois men’s basketball. From spring 2023 onwards I’ve been working as the sports editor! In addition to being an Illini and Real Madrid fanatic, I also love watching movies and TV shows. If you have any questions about writing for The DI, you can reach me at my email below. I-L-L!
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