The Illinois Fighting Illini snapped their three-game losing streak against the Nebraska Cornhuskers, 71-51.
The Illini seemed to have everything working on both offense and defense on Tuesday night. The defense was the main reason why Illinois led 35-23 going into halftime. Nebraska was scoreless in the last 8:51 of the first half.
Offensively, the Illini shot 45 percent and committed only 14 turnovers. Illinois also dominated Nebraska on the boards, 40-28.
Head coach John Groce hit a major coaching milestone after Tuesday night’s win.
He recorded his 100th career win in five seasons as a head coach.
The star of the game for Illinois was senior D.J. Richardson. Richardson set career-highs in both points and 3-pointers.
He hit a career-high six 3-pointers in route to scoring a career-high 30 points.
The Fighting Illini also had nice performances from senior Brandon Paul and junior Joseph Bertrand.
Paul was second on the team with 14 points. He only went 4-of-13 from the field and 0-of-6 from beyond the arc.
Bertrand only scored seven points, but had a great overall game. On top of his seven points, he hauled in eight rebounds and recorded five steals.
The top scorers for the Cornhuskers in Tuesday night’s game were seniors Brandon Ubel and Dylan Talley. Ubel went 4-of-11 from the field and finished with 10 points. Talley led the team with 16 points and went a perfect 7-of-7 from the charity stripe.
Tuesday night’s win was huge for Illinois because of their upcoming schedule. The Fighting Illini will play arguably their toughest part of their schedule in the next five games.
Four of Illinois’ next five opponents are ranked and the only unranked team is a Wisconsin team that beat the Illini, 74-51. The four ranked opponents are #2 Michigan, #13 Michigan State, #7 Indiana, and #12 Minnesota.
The Fighting Illini are now 15-5 overall and 2-4 in the Big Ten.
Their next game will be against the #2 Michigan Wolverineson January 27th. The Wolverines beat #9 Minnesota, 83-75, in their last game. However, the Wolverines will play Purdue on Thursday. Michigan is 17-1 overall and 4-1 in the Big Ten.
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