Illinois Basketball: 3 observations from the Illini loss to Miami

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CHAMPAIGN, IL – DECEMBER 02: Ayo Dosunmu #11 of the Illinois Fighting Illini reacts during the game against the Miami (Fl) Hurricanes at State Farm Center on December 2, 2019 in Champaign, Illinois. (Photo by Michael Hickey/Getty Images)

1. Can’t dig that deep of a hole and expect to win

I was excited for the game on Monday night. Illinois, who was coming off back-to-back 100+ point games, was going up against a struggling Miami team in the ACC-Big Ten Challenge. This was a nice bridge game to the following two contests against top five programs.

That wasn’t the case on Monday night, though. The bell dinged and the fight was underway. But Illinois didn’t get the memo about the fight. So, Miami came over and laid a haymaker on the Orange and Blue. This was an ugly game from the get-go.

The first half absolutely killed this Illinois basketball team. We were beaten in just about every statistical category. The Illini only shot 44-percent from the field compared to Miami shooting 66.7-percent. A lot of that great shooting had to do with bad Illinois defense too.

Turnovers were another issue. Illinois turned the ball over 10 times in the first half compared to Miami only giving the ball up four times. Overall, it was a bad half of basketball that saw the Illini facing a 19-point deficit at halftime.

If we want to be a team that wins on a consistent basis, then we are going to need to come out of the gates a lot better than what we saw on Monday night. We lacked energy and zest in that first half. You can’t expect to win games starting the way we did.

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