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. 10 Illinois men’s basketball falls short at Michigan State

Angel Saldivar
Fifth year guard Terrence Shannon Jr. taunts the Rutgers defense after making a layup on Jan. 21.

Riding a three-game win streak against conference opponents, No. 10 Illinois men’s basketball traveled to East Lansing, Michigan, for a meeting with Michigan State. Despite fifth-year guard Terrence Shannon Jr. notching 28 points, Illinois suffered an eight-point loss.

Head coach Brad Underwood stuck with his standard starting lineup of graduate forwards Marcus Domask and Quincy Guerrier standing alongside Shannon, senior forward Coleman Hawkins and sophomore guard Ty Rodgers.

The Spartans came down with the tipoff and wasted no time getting on the board with a turnaround jumper. It took two possessions for Illinois to respond, but it did so with a make from distance after Hawkins found Shannon on a flashy cross-court pass. 

Both teams were making it hard on each other, but the Illini gained a brief advantage thanks to Domask nailing its second three-pointer and active hands by Hawkins on the defensive end (8-6). Hawkins got in on the three-point barrage himself but received a technical foul for turning toward the crowd after his make (11-11). 

Three free throws by Shannon was the only break before Illinois’ next three-pointer, this time coming at the hands of junior guard Luke Goode (17-15). Graduate guard Justin Harmon followed Goode’s lead and knocked down another triple for Illinois, its fifth in the first nine minutes. Once again, there was only a brief break from distance, and Hawkins knocked down another to give Illinois its biggest lead of the game (25-18).

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Michigan State calmed the storm momentarily and crawled back to within two points, but Shannon responded on three straight possessions to negate its progress. In front by a game-high margin of eight, the Illini began to free fall. Shot after shot fell for Michigan State, which turned into a 12-2 run that thrusted the home team in front (35-33).

The Illini stuck with the Spartans after giving up the lead, thanks in part to one of their players getting a technical foul for taunting the Illinois bench and only trailed by three points heading into the break (44-41). 

Shannon scored 16 points in the first half — the most of any player on either team. Playmaking duties were split between Hawkins and Harmon, who both had three assists and zero turnovers. After reeling in four offensive rebounds in the first seven minutes of the game, the Illini had zero in the following 13 minutes.

The second half started with a bang for Illinois, and Guerrier immediately tied the game at 44 with a three. A couple of possessions later, Shannon put Illinois in front on an extremely deep three-pointer, its eighth of the day. Illinois’ scorching hot afternoon continued via Domask, who tied the game for the 10th time of the day (54-54).

Shannon continued to lead the way offensively. Getting active on the offensive glass led to an and-one before Hawkins set him up for a left-handed layup to move the Illini in front by five (69-64). 

All seemed well for Illinois after Domask put its lead back at the highest it had been all game (72-64), but Michigan State rallied once again. An 8-0 run for the home team knotted the score at 72, and it was primed to take a lead in transition, but Domask came up with a massive block. Shannon ended an almost five-minute scoring drought for the Illini with a successful trip to the free throw line, moving them in front by two.

Trailing by two points in the final two minutes, back-to-back turnovers ended Illinois’ chances at victory. The four points granted to the Spartans off the turnovers proved to be insurmountable, and the Illini fell 88-80. Illinois was outscored 24-8 in the final 7:38 of the game. 

Illinois men’s basketball will be at home on Tuesday, hosting Michigan for the second leg of their season series at 6 p.m.



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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.
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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