5 crucial observations from the Illinois basketball loss against Michigan State

Illinois v Michigan State
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5. Where in the world is Justin Harmon

Illinois needs our bench to come through in a big way. They are good enough to be starters, so when they come into the game, they have to perform at that level.

For most of the season, this has been the case. I haven’t had a huge issue with the bench, as most of the talent can score at a high clip. But, as of late, Justin Harmon hasn’t played well.

Harmon was a big part of the Illini early on in the season. He had a stretch of seven games where he had five double-digit scoring performances. In one of those big games, he was able to drop 20 points.

That Harmon hasn’t been seen in a while, though. He hasn’t hit double-digit points in five straight games. In this five-game stretch, Harmon is 3-of-13, 23.1%, from three-point range. His best game was a six-point performance in a loss to Northwestern.

On Saturday, Harmon struggled once again. While his shooting percentages weren’t bad, he just wasn’t his same affective self.

Harmon finished the Michigan State loss with seven points, three assists, and three rebounds on 3-of-5 shooting from the floor and 1-of-2 from three-point range. He also had two fouls and two turnovers.

If Harmon was only getting 15 minutes per game, those would be good numbers. But he logged 25 minutes against the Spartans. Harmon is one of our best spot-up shooters, but Illinois has been missing his production for the last five games.

I need to see Harmon wake up. Illinois needs to get him involved in the game because he is a big part of this team. Hopefully, moving forward, Harmon will be a bigger piece to what will hopefully be a championship puzzle.

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