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

No. 12 Illinois men’s basketball falls short against No. 3 Purdue in top of Big Ten clash

Candice Zhou
Graduate student Marcus Domask trys to score against Purdue during the 1st half on Tuesday.

After 17 electric games of basketball in 2023-24, the State Farm Center geared up for an explosive regular-season finale on Tuesday night as the No. 12 Illini hosted the No. 3 Purdue Boilermakers. The battle of the two Big Ten giants saw Illinois come up short as Purdue claimed a 77-71 result in Champaign.

Fifth-year guard Terrence Shannon Jr., sophomore guard Ty Rodgers, graduate student forwards Marcus Domask and Quincy Guerrier and senior forward Coleman Hawkins rounded out the final starting lineup at the State Farm Center in 2023-24.

Zach Edey and the Boilermakers came down with the opening tipoff but were thwarted on their first possession. With the sea of orange around the arena on their feet, the Illini stormed down the floor to earn their first bucket of the game after a floater from Shannon.

The deafening roar of the crowd did not cease as the Illini raced to a 7-2 start to open the game. It was a sharp, fast-paced opening five minutes from Illinois as a stunned Purdue struggled to get into any sort of flow offensively. However, the high intensity began to slow down as Mason Gillis sunk four straight free throws to cut the Boilermakers’ deficit from seven points to just three.

As both teams entered a field goal-scoring drought, junior guard Luke Goode lifted the Illini out of their two-minute slump with a big make from beyond the arc.

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The ecstatic atmosphere only rose throughout the first half as Illinois rapidly started to pick up the pace. Efficient shooting from Domask and redshirt junior forward Dain Dainja elevated the Illini to a double-digit lead with 5:18 remaining in the period. However, Edey’s physical presence in the paint on the other end of the floor continued to cause problems, preventing Illinois from running away on the board.

By the end of the half, the Illini managed to hold on to a six-point advantage to lead the visiting Boilermakers by a 40-34 scoreline.

Purdue struck first with a triple, coming out of the break before Hawkins got the crowd going with a two-handed slam in response. Edey continued to battle in the paint and tied the game at the 13:22 mark to the dismay of the home fans, and with 10:11 to go in the contest, the Boilermakers gained their first lead of the night at 56-54.

A 5:04 scoring drought for Illinois allowed the visitors to jump to a four-point lead before Domask managed to complete a three-point play. Purdue’s advantage reached as high as six before a 6-0 run brought Illinois all the way back. With the score now tied at 64-64, the State Farm Center locked in for an intense final five minutes of basketball.

Shannon reclaimed the lead after scoring both free throw attempts, but the Boilermakers put themselves back in front shortly with a quick 5-0 run.

The last minute of play in Champaign saw the Illini trailing by six points. With 45 seconds on the clock, Domask earned a crucial and-one play to bring Illinois within three. However, Purdue responded with a triple to ice the game and held out to claim the narrow 77-71 victory.

Illinois will be back on Sunday for its regular season finale in a road showdown with the Iowa Hawkeyes.



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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!
Candice Zhou
Candice Zhou, Assistant Photo Editor
Hey! My name is Candice Zhou, and I’m a junior majoring in accounting and finance. I joined The Daily Illini in spring 2022 as a photographer and am now the assistant photo editor. I love music and singing (I am currently in a band called Too Soon!). I also like traveling, watching movies, playing tennis, etc. Fun fact about me: I am a DJ! If you have any questions, feel free to email me!
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