5 painful observations from the Illinois basketball loss to Purdue

This was a golden opportunity for the Illinois basketball team to arrive on the national stage. That opportunity was squandered, though.
Mar 5, 2024; Champaign, Illinois, USA; Purdue Boilermakers head coach Matt Painter and Illinois
Mar 5, 2024; Champaign, Illinois, USA; Purdue Boilermakers head coach Matt Painter and Illinois / Ron Johnson-USA TODAY Sports
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4. Surprise performance by a couple of Illini players

It wasn’t all doom and gloom for the Illinois basketball team on Tuesday night. I thought there were some bright spots in the loss.

Marcus Domask was sensational for the Illini. His 20 points were only second to Zach Edey in the game. He did a great job backing down his man and wiggling around Edey to score points. But there were two players who had been missing lately but showed up against the Boilermakers.

The first player was Quincy Guerrier. He made a big impact on the offensive end of the court, especially early on in the game. Guerrier was hitting shots from everywhere and finished with 12 points on 3-of-5 shooting from the floor and 3-of-4 from three-point range.

Guerrier’s 12 points is the most points he has scored in a game since the 12 points he put up against Nebraska on February 4. You have to go back to January 24 to find the last time he put up more than 12 points.

Illinois needed Guerrier’s strong offensive performance. Joining Guerrier in the welcome-back club was Ty Rodgers. He finally had a good offensive game for the Illini, which was much needed.

Rodgers finished the Purdue game with eight points on 3-of-3 shooting from the floor and made both of his free throws. His eight points were the most he has scored since February 10 against Michigan State when he also had eight points. January 30 is the last time Rodgers scored more than eight points in a game.

Terrence Shannon Jr. wasn’t having a good game, so Illinois needed players to step up to compete against the No. 3 team in the country. Without Guerrier and Rodgers, the Illini probably get blown out by Purdue. Thankfully, these two showed up at the right time.