Illinois Basketball: 5 observations from the Illini loss to Purdue

Illinois Fighting Illini forward Marcus Domask (3) shoots the ball over Purdue Boilermakers forward
Illinois Fighting Illini forward Marcus Domask (3) shoots the ball over Purdue Boilermakers forward / Alex Martin/Journal and Courier / USA
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Illinois basketball made things exciting at the end of the tough matchup against No. 1 Purdue.

Wow, was this game ugly to start. The Illini dug into a double-digit hole early on. While the margin would narrow in the middle of the first half, the Boilermakers would surge ahead and take a 15-point halftime lead.

Illinois looked great in the second half, though. We came out and started punching back. Marcus Domask found a groove, and Purdue couldn't stop him. But the comeback came up just short, as Purdue would beat the Illini, 83-78.

Here are five observations from the Illinois basketball loss to Purdue

1. Illinois started to understand how to get around Zach Edey

In the first half, the Illini had a difficult time with Zach Edey. The only time we had a break from the big man was when he was on the bench due to foul trouble.

Defensively, Illinois wasn’t going to do too much to Edey. Foul trouble was our only savior, as the Purdue monster got whatever he wanted on the offensive end of the court. But, for the Illini offensively, we started to figure things out in the second half.

Illinois started to figure out how to get around Edey. The key was to have someone drive into the paint and they would dish off the ball to another player who was cutting to the basket.

This worked nearly every time. The only Ty Rodgers bucket was when an Illinois player got into the paint and Rodgers pulled a backdoor cut on Purdue. This was a beautiful basket, and I was hoping we would see more of that out of Rodgers.

Quincy Guerrier also did a lot of slashing to the basket. Marcus Domask and Coleman Hawkins were able to find him for buckets at the rim.

While Edey is a massive human and moves well for being 7-foot-4, he still doesn’t move nearly as well as our guards and forwards. We started to figure that out a little too late in the game, though.