The 7th-ranked Villanova Wildcats beat the Illini men 73-59 in basketball Tuesday night at Madison Square Garden in New York.
Dylan Ennis was one of four Wildcats to score in double-figures, leading his team with 18 points.
Illini coach John Groce praised the Wildcats' balance, and added that Villanova was better at just about everything.
“In the last eight minutes, I thought they were smarter, I thought they were tougher”, said Groce. “I thought they executed better. I thought they were more cohesive. I thought they had more grit. We’re not real thrilled about that. There were some things we’ll take away from the game that I thought were positive. And they’ll be some things that we need to get corrected extremely quickly.”
Malcolm Hill led all scorers with a career high 20 points.
Except for Hill (8-of-16) and Kendrick Nunn (4-of-7) it was another bad shooting night for Illinois. Rayvonte Rice connected on only 5-of-15 shots from the floor. Aaron Cosby was 1-of-8. Overall, the team shot 41% and only 50% on free throws.
The Illini committed 14 turnovers for the second consecutive game, but also forced 16 from Villanova. The Wildcats out-rebounded Illinois 37-30.
Notable Illinois alums John Giuliani and Bill Geist sat courtside, the latter with his son, Morning Joe co-host Willie Geist.
Villanova improved to 9-0 on the year. The Illini are now 7-2. They return to action Saturday afternoon at the United Center in Chicago, facing the Oregon Ducks.
The City of Urbana will contribute $5,000 a year for five years, if Champaign-Urbana succeeds in winning a contract with the Illinois High School Association to bring back the Illinois Boys’ High School Basketball Tournament.