Illinois Basketball: 4 observations from the Illini win over Purdue

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Illinois basketball

Nov 25, 2020; Champaign, Illinois, USA; North Carolina A&T Aggies forward Jeremy Robinson (1) goes up for a shot against Illinois Fighting Illini forward Coleman Hawkins (33) during the second half at the State Farm Center. Mandatory Credit: Patrick Gorski-USA TODAY Sports

The Illinois basketball team picked up its third consecutive win after beating Purdue at home on Saturday night.

It wasn’t pretty, but Illinois was able to walk out of the State Farm Center victorious against Purdue, defeating the Boilermakers by a score of 66-58.  The Illini are now 4-1 in conference play and 8-3 on the season.

Here are four observations from the Fighting Illini victory over Purdue.

1. Coleman Hawkins provided a spark off the bench

Prior to Saturday’s game, the 2020 three-star recruit was averaging just 0.8 points, 1.1 rebounds, and 0.8 assists in only seven minutes of play per contest.

Hawkins didn’t exactly light up the stat sheet in Saturday’s contest, as he continued to see very few minutes of playing time coming off the bench for Illinois.  The Illini stretch forward, however, provided a pleasant spark both offensively and defensively for the Orange and Blue.

Hawkins would go perfect from the field, shooting 2-of-2 on the night, one of those shots coming from beyond the arc, the other coming under the basket while being fouled.

The freshman finished the night with 5 points, 2 rebounds, 1 assist, and 1 block in just five minutes of action.

Hawkins was additionally +12 in those five minutes, meaning the Illini led by 12 points while he was on the floor.  This proves the freshman made a positive impact when he was in the game for the Orange and Blue.

Hawkins received high praise from head coach Brad Underwood following the Illini’s “home kill”.

“Really happy to see Coleman. Has had a great week of practice. He’s an elite shooter. Was happy to see the ball go in for him,” Underwood praised.

It would be crucial if the Illini are able to find a way to get Hawkins more time on the floor, as he could be a vital piece for the Orange and Blue come tournament time, given his potential.  The freshman provides length, athleticism, and the ability to score from all levels of the floor for Illinois.

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