Illinois basketball ended a crazy road trip with a painful loss to the Tennessee Volunteers.
While Illinois kept up with Tennessee for the most part, we just didn’t look into the game. The Illini weren’t playing how we had played in the past eight contests, and the result was an 86-79 loss to Tennessee.
Here are five observations from the Illinois basketball loss to Tennessee
1. Big-time Illinois players didn’t show up in a big-time game
It was a fun run for the first eight games of the season. I loved how Illinois played, specifically some of the star talent.
In the last game against Florida Atlantic, the Illini had both Marcus Domask and Terrence Shannon Jr. go off for 33 points. It was truly incredible to watch and one of those special games I will never forget.
Illinois needed those players to step up again on Saturday. Taking on a top 20 program on the road is never easy. We needed our veteran leaders who put up 66 points just days ago to have another good game. Well, that didn’t happen.
Domask and Shannon came back down to earth. Domask finished with six points, two rebounds, one assist, and two turnovers on 2-of-11 shooting from the field and 0-of-5 from three-point range. As long as Domask is knocking down shots, it hides his massive defensive flaws. When he isn’t hitting, it is an ugly sight.
Shannon didn’t have a much more impressive game. He finished with 22 points, four rebounds, one assist, and one block while going 5-of-16 from the field and 1-of-6 from three-point range. Shannon’s game calls for him to get to the free throw line, so he hit a solid 11-of-11 from the charity stripe.
At the end of the day, I am not upset with the shot selection by Shannon and Domask. It is not like they were doubled-teamed and threw up NBA-range three-pointers. But they just couldn’t hit in a big game. When your two stars are 7-of-27 from the field and 1-of-11 from three-point range, it is kind of hard to win games.