Illinois basketball beats Quincy in exhibition

Illinois’ Malcolm Hill (21) does a layup during the exhibition game against Quincy at State Farm Center on Friday. The Illini won 91-62 and Hill led the team with 20 points.

The Illinois men’s basketball team did what was expected Friday night.

Illinois took care of Quincy in the team’s exhibition with a 91–62 victory over the Hawks.

“We did a lot of good things,” senior center Nnanna Egwu said. “Offensively, sharing the ball. We’ve got a lot of things to get better on defensively, but overall, I thought we did play well.”

Although Quincy won the opening tip and scored the first points of the game, the outcome was never in doubt. 

After Quincy scored the first three points of the game, the Illini went on a 17-0 run to mount a lead they wouldn’t relinquish for the remainder of the game.

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Quincy played sloppy and looked outmatched in terms of talent. The Hawks shot 26.7 percent from the field and missed all four of their 3-point attempts in the first half.

Illinois, on the other hand, showed off its depth with 10 players seeing playing time in the first half. The Illini finished the first half with a 37-20 lead on 41.7 percent shooting. 

Illinois also shot relatively well from behind the 3-point line. The Illini seemed confident from three in the game, shooting 30 threes and hitting 36.7 percent of them.

The second half was more of the same as the Illini continued their hot shooting and expanded their lead. 

Quincy reeled in the Illini and cut the lead to fewer than 20 points midway through the second half, but the Illini offense proved too potent.

The stout defense that became Illinois’ calling card last season was still evident for parts of the game Friday. Egwu finished the game with five blocks. But for head coach John Groce, the Illini’s defensive effort was lacking.

“We’ve got to be better defensively,” Groce said. “We just didn’t guard the basketball very well.

“I’m much more concerned about the (defensive) end of the floor. I didn’t think we were very good on that end. They had too many dribble penetration opportunities that led to offensive rebounds. We’ve got to take a lot more pride in keeping the basketball in front.”

Sophomore guard Malcolm Hill led the Illini in scoring with 20 points, two rebounds and two assists on the night. Hill played exceptionally well in the first half with 14 points.

“I feel like I’ve gotten a lot stronger and I feel like my offense has gotten better,” Hill said.

Leron Black was also impressive on both sides of the ball and on the glass for Illinois. The freshman forward finished with 15 points and eight rebounds. Four Illini finished in double-figures scoring. Joining Hill and Black were guards Rayvonte Rice and Aaron Cosby, each with 11 points. 

For Egwu, no matter how the team played, it was nice to just be back on the court at State Farm Center.

“It was good getting out here and playing in front of our fans,” Egwu said.

Nicholas can be reached at [email protected] and on Twitter @IlliniSportsGuy.