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. 10 Illinois’ overtime loss away at Northwestern

Angel Saldivar
Graduate Student Forward Marcus Domask looking to make a pass during the second half against Maryland on Jan. 14.

The No. 10 Illini saw their two-game winning streak snapped following a 96-91 defeat in Evanston, Illinois, to the Northwestern Wildcats on Wednesday night. A less-than-stellar shooting night in the face of the Wildcats’ sharpshooting ultimately spelled out disaster for the visitors at the Welsh Ryan Arena.

A tale of two shooting nights

You might recall that the last time the Illini faced the Wildcats, the result was a 30-point domination. It’s crazy what a difference can be seen in just 22 days. So what went wrong? A variety of things, such as the frequent miscommunication on defense, sloppiness in possession, yada yada yada. However, one of the most pressing issues was the fact that the Illini struggled with the easiest shot in basketball: layups. It is the most basic, straightforward way to get the ball in the net. Simply put, you can never expect to win games shooting 15-35 on layups. It was a frustrating display to watch the ball continually bounce all the wrong ways from close, and it became pretty evident that opportunities to win the game were absolutely there.

Northwestern, on the other hand, had a lights-out shooting night. The Wildcats shot 55.1% from the field compared to the Illini’s 40.8%, as well as a ridiculous 11-18 (61.1%) from three. Shots just continually fell for Northwestern in Evanston as it earned a historic upset over the visitors.

Illinois’ starting five players are indicated with *.

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* Coleman Hawkins (A+)

Hawkins was a star on both ends against Northwestern. The Wildcats had a sluggish first half due to his masterful ability to impact shots. It was a bit of a roller coaster to see Illinois pull off impressive defensive possession after defensive possession but be unable to capitalize on the other end. His performance transcended what shows up in a stat sheet, but two blocks and two steals work as excellent tangible evidence. On top of that, Hawkins had a monstrous seven offensive rebounds (13 total) and went nuclear on the offensive end in the second half (14) and overtime (4).

* Marcus Domask (A-)

Domask was certainly one of the better performers for Illinois on Wednesday night. Tying Hawkins as the top scorer with 22 points, Domask was trusted with the big shots late in the game and shot 9-18 from the field, 2-4 from three. It became pretty evident that he was the go-to guy offensively, which was reinforced as he stepped up to take the potential game-winning shot at the end of regulation. The graduate student forward also did a nice job dishing the ball out to open teammates and was rewarded with six assists on the night, the most by any Illini.

* Terrence Shannon Jr. (C-)

It was a rough night for Shannon during his first road trip since returning from suspension. The fifth-year guard tried forcing his way back into the game on more than one occasion, resulting in turnovers. Shannon struggled to get much to fall for him and wasn’t able to contribute anywhere near what had become expected of him. In 39 minutes on the floor, the Chicago native managed to put up 12 points on 3-8 shooting from the field and 5-6 shooting from the free-throw line.

* Quincy Guerrier (B+)

Guerrier was a victim of Illinois’ team-wide allergy to layups against Northwestern. However, his 1-6 mark from inside the arc was offset by an impressive night from outside (3-6) and another strong performance on the boards. Guerrier got to the line for a team-high six free throws, and earning 15 points and 11 rebounds was his eighth double-double of the season.

* Ty Rodgers (C+)

Wednesday night was another game where Rodgers did not see much of the floor. Marking his sixth game with less than 20 minutes (16), Rodgers notched six points on seven shots and had seven rebounds. Rodgers’ effort on the offensive glass was very impressive, as his first offensive rebound led to Illinois’ second basket of the game while the other two generated a three-shot possession. He was also one of two starters — the other being Hawkins — who outscored Northwestern while on the floor (2).

Justin Harmon (C-)

After his stellar 18-point performance against Rutgers previously, Harmon was much quieter on Wednesday. The guard shot 2-8 from the field for six points and did his part in helping to dish out the rock and secure rebounds, but Harmon wasn’t able to take over coming off the bench. He wasn’t great but also did not hurt the team during his 28 minutes on the floor.

Luke Goode (C+)

Goode made an immediate impact after subbing in. Hitting two three-pointers less than 30 seconds apart forced Northwestern to take a timeout and regroup, but that was about it for the junior. Missing his remaining three shots meant a respectable four rebounds and an assist were all that Goode had in store.

Dain Dainja (N/A)

Grabbed one rebound and shot 0-2 in one minute on the floor.


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About the Contributors
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!
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.
Angel Saldivar, Assistant Photo Editor
My name is Angel Saldivar and I'm nearing the end of my Journalism degree at the University of Illinois and currently serve as the Assistant Photo Editor at the Daily Illini. When I'm not out taking photos, I'm diving into filmmaking with my film club (shoutout Illini Film and Video) or playing the drums. Got questions or just want to connect? Don't hesitate to email me!
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