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. 14 Illinois men’s basketball’s 29-point win over Michigan

Senior+Forward+Coleman+Hawkins+takes+the+court+in+the+starting+lineup+against+Michigan+on+Tuesday.
Lucas Sun
Senior Forward Coleman Hawkins takes the court in the starting lineup against Michigan on Tuesday.

It had been a while since No. 14 Illinois men’s basketball pulled out a decisive win from start to finish — a sentiment made worse by its most recent loss at Michigan State. However, the Illini responded by dominating the Wolverines from start to finish and were able to empty the bench with just under 10 minutes remaining (97-68).  

Illinois is not rolling over

It was clear on Tuesday night that the Illini are not ready to be counted out. They defended with intensity and had one of their best nights of the year offensively. Illinois’ detrimental road loss to Michigan State could have been a breaking point that eliminated it from Big Ten contention, much like No. 20 Wisconsin’s recent four-game skid. However, the loss only gave the Illini more fire and they are still in prime position to finish atop the conference.

Illinois’ starting five players are indicated with *.

* Coleman Hawkins (A+)

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Hawkins continues to add excellent games to his career every night. His stat-stuffing evening rounded out to 17 points, five rebounds, five assists and two blocks but his value went even deeper than the numbers. Illinois as a whole was excellent from three-point territory, in large part due to Hawkins’ ability as a shooter and a passer. His presence on the outside was a key component for everyone else, whether it be drawing extra defenders outside of the arc on drives or simply being a knock-down option to pass toward when the defense collapses. 

* Terrence Shannon Jr. (A+)

Shannon put on a superstar display against Michigan, posting his third 30+ point performance of the 2023-24 season. The Chicago native was on fire when it came to efficiency from the field (11-15), particularly from beyond the arc (5-8). Shannon drained five threes against Michigan and at certain points, seemingly just couldn’t miss. Crucially, however, the guard turned it up offensively to stop the Wolverines as they began to inch closer and closer to the Illini’s lead in the first half. Michigan couldn’t find an answer to Shannon’s explosive speed and allowed the veteran to run riot on Tuesday night. 

* Ty Rodgers (B)

Through no fault of his own, there was simply not much for Rodgers to do against Michigan besides defend at an extremely high level. Hawkins, Shannon and Domask accounted for 61 of Illinois’ 97 points, meaning that guys like Rodgers only attempted five shots. He had a down night as a rebounder (2) but was effective as a connector, picking up three assists to go along with six points. The defense materialized as just one steal but his impact was felt by Illinois outscoring Michigan by 28 points while he was on the floor.

* Marcus Domask (A)

Efficiency was once again the name of the game for Domask, who scored 13 points on 5-9 shooting from the field. The forward played smart against the Wolverines when it came to his shot selection and did well in distributing the ball around the floor. The only worrying statistic from Tuesday night came in the form of fouls, as the graduate student picked up four to end the night.

* Quincy Guerrier (A-)

Lost in the heroics of Shannon and Hawkins, Guerrier put together an extremely solid night. He made all four of his shots, including an emphatic dunk and two threes. The veteran forward has begun to creep back toward his typical offensive output after a peculiar stretch where he broke double digits in just one of four games. 

Justin Harmon (B+)

Harmon took advantage of his opportunities and put in a solid shift off the bench against the Wolverines. The graduate student was efficient in the paint, cleaning up well at the rim to record a 4-6 shooting from the field. In 22 minutes, the guard scored a total of eight points and recorded three rebounds and two steals.

Luke Goode (C)

Much like Rodgers, there simply weren’t a lot of shots for Goode on Tuesday night. He played just 14 minutes and made one of his three attempts from distance while grabbing four rebounds and dishing out two assists. 

Dain Dainja (N/A) 

Dainja recorded 13 minutes against Michigan, largely after Illinois had emptied the bench due to the game getting out of hand. The redshirt junior notched four points and six rebounds. 

Dra Gibbs-Lawhorn (N/A)

Gibbs-Lawhorn was mostly on the floor after the game had been decided. During that time, he made just one of his eight shot attempts and picked up two rebounds and an assist. 

Niccolo Moretti (N/A)

Moretti played seven minutes against Michigan, coming down with a rebound during that time.

AJ Redd (N/A)

Redd received two minutes against the Wolverines.

Max Williams (N/A)

Williams made the most of his single minute on the floor, scoring his first career points as an Illini after shooting 2-2 at the free-throw line.

 

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About the Contributors
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, 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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