Illinois basketball was coming off a tough loss to Northwestern, so beating Indiana on Saturday was a must.
The Illini didn't start well. The team looked ugly, and we weren't playing efficient basketball. Indiana got out to a quick start, but Illinois ended up fighting back.
Illinois had a four-point lead at halftime, but that lead slipped away. Indiana tied the game at 62-62, and that is when the Illini hit a switch. In the final 1:03 of the game, Illinois would score eight straight points to win the game over Indiana, 70-62.
Here are five massive observations from the Illinois basketball win over Indiana
1. The Illinois bench played some crucial minutes
Throughout most of the season, the Illinois bench was very short, and Brad Underwood would mainly go with the starters on the court.
That changed on Saturday, though. Illinois needed the bench, and they came through in a big way. Let me start off with Justin Harmon and Luke Goode.
Illinois had some foul trouble with the starters, along with a lack of quality play, so Harmon and Goode had to play some big minutes. Goode registered 30 minutes while Harmon was at 29 minutes for the Illini.
Goode was able to put up some big numbers too. He finished with 11 points and three rebounds on 4-of-9 shooting from the floor and 3-of-8 from three-point range. His shooting helped turn the tides and get Illinois back on the right track.
While Harmon only shot 2-of-9 from the floor on Saturday, his presence was big. He had four rebounds and hit one of the biggest shots of the game toward the end. When Harmon was on the court, Illinois was beating Indiana by 24 points as well.
I was also pleased with Dra Gibbs-Lawhorn in the short time he was on the court. While he only played three minutes, Gibbs-Lawhorn hit a big three-pointer, and he energized the Illini. The bench was huge for Illinois on Saturday and one of the reasons we came out with the victory over Indiana.