It is never easy to win on the road, but the Illinois basketball team went to Columbus and took down Ohio State.
This was a close game in the first half. The Illini were going back and forth with the Buckeyes until the final few minutes before halftime. Illinois hit another gear, and we started to play some great basketball.
A seven-point halftime lead ended up turning into a 12-point road victory for the Illini.
Here are five crucial observations from the Illinois basketball win over Ohio State
1. Terrence Shannon Jr. started to get his game back
Boy howdy, it was brutal to watch Terrence Shannon Jr. in his first three games back from suspension. While he awaits his preliminary hearing this May on a charge of rape, Shannon is allowed to play for the Illini.
Shannon served a six-game suspension before a judge overruled Illinois and allowed him to lace up again. In the first three games back from the suspension, Shannon looked awful. He was 9-of-28, 32.1%, from the field and 1-of-14, 7.1%, from three-point range during this stretch of games.
I don’t know what was said at halftime of the Indiana game, but Shannon started to calm his game down a bit in the second half of that win. He was more of a team player, and he let the game come to him.
To start the Ohio State game, Shannon still didn’t look good. But he wasn’t taking the bad and forced shots that he had been in the prior three games. Shannon was just missing good looks. He went 1-of-7 from the floor and 1-of-4 from three-point range for five points in the first 20 minutes of action. He also had one rebound and one assist.
The second half was a different animal, though. Shannon didn’t play differently, as the ball was swinging and the offense was flowing, but he started to hit his shots. The three-pointers were finally starting to fall, and when Illinois would rebound the ball, we would push it up the court in transition. This led to some easy buckets for Shannon.
In the second half alone, Shannon went 6-of-10 from the floor and 2-of-3 from three-point range. He had 18 points, two rebounds, and two assists in that second half as well.
Things finally started to click for Shannon. He is playing a much better brand of basketball than the first three games back from the suspension. I believe this is the Shannon Illinois will get the rest of the season, and that should be scary for the rest of the Big Ten.
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