In its early season, Illinois struggled with slow starts against low or mid-major opponents. However, the Illini shook off their sluggish performance and dominated Southern in a convincing 88-60 win on Sunday. Terrence Shannon Jr. led the way with a game-high 24 points, while Dain Dainja and Quincy Guerrier added 12 and 10 points respectively. Freshman big Amani Hansberry had an impressive performance off the bench, contributing eight points, seven rebounds, and three assists.
Dainja was instrumental in Illinois’ early lead, scoring ten points in the first 6:40 of the game, including the Illini’s first four made field goals. Niccolo Moretti also gave Illinois an offensive boost off the bench for the second straight game. He had four points, three assists, and three rebounds in the first half before leaving late with an ankle injury. Despite Southern’s efforts to force turnovers early on, Illinois managed to maintain its lead with a solid performance that saw them take an 18-point advantage into halftime.
Illinois opened up a commanding 34-point lead in the second half after Luke Goode hit three triples following the break. He has been instrumental in Illinois’ success this season, having made three or more threes in four out of five games so far. Next up for Illinois is a matchup against Western Illinois at 8 p.m. on Friday night at home.
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