Illinois snaps conference skid, earns first B1G win with upset of Wisconsin
Illinois needed a win in a major way on Saturday. After dropping their first three games of the B1G slate, the Illini finally responded with a win — and an upset — by taking down No. 14 Wisconsin, 79-69.
Heading into the game, the Badgers knew they would be down Tyler Wahl, their leading scorer on the season. That absence certainly had an impact, but it was the offense of Illinois that helped put things away in the second half.
Terrence Shannon Jr. continued his fantastic play on the season with a game-high 24 points. He shot an efficient 7-for-11 from the field and 9-for-12 from the free-throw line while adding 8 rebounds, 3 assists, a steal and a block.
Also proving lethal for Illinois in the matchup was Coleman Hawkins. He scored 20 points, including a 6-for-9 performance from 3-point range. Hawkins’ shooting helped Illinois go 10-for-19 from deep (52.6%), and the Illini offense proves to be a different animal when he is hitting from 3-point range.
For the Badgers, Chucky Hepburn and Steven Crowl stepped up without Wahl in the lineup. Hepburn led the Badgers with 22 poitns and 7 assists while Crowl had a 20-point, 12-rebound double-double.
Unfortunately, efficiency — particularly from 3-point range — was the difference-maker in this one. Wisconsin finished the game shooting 43.8% from the floor and just 8-for-29 (27.6%) from 3-point range.
We’ll see if the win ignites something for Illinois after getting the first conference win of the season.