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. 12 Illinois’ regular season finale win over Iowa

James Hoeck
Redshirt junior forward/center Dain Dainja goes for a lay up during the second half of a game against Iowa at the State Farm Center on Feb. 24.

Another year of regular season basketball came to a close on Monday for No. 12 Illinois men’s basketball. The Illini earned their 23rd win of 2023-24 on the road against the Iowa Hawkeyes. With the postseason now upon us, Sunday’s matchup provided the final look at Illinois before the Big Ten tournament kicks off. 

Shannon can take the Illini far in March, though inconsistencies are still present

If one thing became clear from Illinois’ time in Iowa City, it’s that this team is going to rely on Terrence Shannon Jr.’s ability to get tough buckets as we continue through March. The Chicago native shot an impressive 10-19 from the field and was a thorn in the Hawkeyes’ side throughout the game. 

However, from a team perspective, the inconsistencies still present throughout the Illini’s performance were a worrying sign from Sunday night’s matchup. There were numerous points late in the contest where Illinois dropped off significantly on the defensive end, allowing Iowa to go on scoring runs and battle its way back. While the Illini were able to close out the game, come tournament time these defensive lapses could prove costly as they have in postseasons of recent years.

* Marcus Domask (C-)

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With only 4-14 shooting from the field, it sure wasn’t a Marcus Domask performance Illini fans have come to expect. Shots just weren’t falling for the forward like they usually do, yet with Domask on the floor Illinois was +14, the highest +/- of any player on the roster. Despite a slower night, the graduate student still managed to get into double digits for scoring and finished an impressive fadeaway triple in the second half.

* Terrence Shannon Jr. (A+)

Shannon set the tempo against Iowa and was explosive driving to the rim in signature style. In addition to efficient shooting, the guard was also very sharp on the defensive end. With two blocks on the night, Shannon’s team-high 25 points on the other end of the court rounded off a well-balanced performance from the fifth year as the Hawkeyes struggled to find an answer to his speed and constant pressure.

* Quincy Guerrier (A-)

Guerrier got back to what he knows best against Iowa: rebounding. The Montreal native was Illinois’ leading rebounder for much of the season and his average rebounds per game peaked at 8.1 after a double-double performance at Northwestern in late January. Despite this capping off a stretch where Guerrier had six double-doubles in eight games, Guerrier eclipsed six rebounds on just two occasions in the 11 games between Northwestern and Monday night. Posting an efficient 14 points was just the cherry on top of Guerrier’s 13-rebound return to form against the Hawkeyes.

* Ty Rodgers (B+)

It was a quiet but steady night for Rodgers. He answered the bell whenever necessary on the offensive end, totaling seven points on 3-5 shooting, but his rebounding really stood out. Rodgers came down with eight rebounds, three of which were on the offensive end and turned into two second-chance points.

* Coleman Hawkins (B+)

Despite sinking just two of his six shots and having the second-lowest amount of points by Illinois scorers, Hawkins had an excellent night on defense. He played a major role in the Illini limiting the Hawkeyes to just three offensive rebounds, directly contributing 10 of Illinois’ 40 defensive rebounds. Illinois dominated the boards in all categories, pulling down 50 total rebounds compared to Iowa’s 33 and 10 offensive rebounds to Iowa’s three, in no small part due to Hawkins. 

Dain Dainja (A+)

Dainja was excellent during his 15 minutes on the floor, coming off the bench to make an immediate impact on the game. The forward wasted no time in asserting his dominance in the paint and providing the Illini with energy during slow stretches of the contest. With nine points on 3-5 shooting, five rebounds and two blocks, it was a top-tier shift put in by the Illini big man. When Dainja is able to leave his mark on games like this, it only means great things for this squad.

Justin Harmon (F)

Harmon’s 15-minute cameo on Sunday night wasn’t a great one. The guard was ineffective and didn’t hit any of his three attempts from the field. He also recorded two turnovers and committed three fouls, a performance to forget heading into the postseason.

Luke Goode (D+)

Goode did not add much to the Illini during his 10 minutes on the floor. His only official stat was a personal foul and Illinois outscored Iowa by just one point during his time.

Niccolo Moretti (B)

Moretti continued to be an interesting option off of Illinois’ bench against Iowa, sticking a tough midrange shot and reeling in two defensive rebounds in seven minutes.


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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.
James Hoeck
James Hoeck, Photo Editor
Heyo! I am James Hoeck, a third-year undergraduate student in photography with a minor in media. I have been a part of Illini Media for two years, starting back in fall 2021. I hold the position of Photo Editor here at The Daily Illini. I also work as Photo Editor for Illini Media’s Illio Yearbook. There is a good chance you will see me out and about on campus taking photos for my personal work or for The DI and/or Illio! If you want to check out more of my work, visit my socials linked below.
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