Frazier’s 25 points Lead Illinois Men Past ETSU 73-55; Women Top SIU-E
CHAMPAIGN, Ill. (AP) — Trent Frazier scored 25 points on Saturday to lead Illinois past East Tennessee State 73-55.
Giorgi Bezhanishvili scored 15 points and Kipper Nichols added 14 for Illinois (4-7). Aaron Jordan had a game-high 10 rebounds.
ETSU (8-4) was led by Daivien Williamson's 19 points. Patrick Good scored 11 points and Jeromy Rodriguez grabbed 7 rebounds for the Buccaneers.
The Illini dominated the first half, going on a 14-0 run at one point and leading 43-18 at the break. Frazier hit five 3-pointers in the half to lead the charge.
"I liked today," Illinois coach Brad Underwood said. "We played well from top to bottom, at both ends of the court."
Illinois shot 43 percent (26 of 60) from the field while ETSU shot 35 percent (18 of 52). The Illini hit 10 of 25 3-pointers, the Bucs 6 of 22.
"I give all the credit to Illinois," ETSU coach Steve Forbes said. "They took us out of our offense early and we struggled to deal with it the whole game. They deny an offense like no other team."
The Bucs adjusted to the Illini's swarming man-to-man defense in the second half and slowly started to crawl back into the game, outscoring Illinois 37-30. But 3-pointers by Da'Monte Williams. Frazier and Jordan kept Illinois' lead intact.
"That first half was the best we've played all year," Underwood said.
"Their record is not indicative of who they are as a team," Forbes said. "They've played a tough schedule, no puffy games at all."
ETSU: The Buccaneers were searching for their first win against a Big Ten opponent after having dropped 17 games. Saturday's loss marked ETSU's first game against the Big Ten since hosting Michigan State in December 1998.
Illinois: Starting guard Ayo Dosunmu and backup guard Alan Griffin dressed but didn't play because they were late to the morning shoot-around, team officials said.
The Bucs had travel problems. After being forced to fly to Chicago's Midway Airport Friday night because central Illinois was socked in with heavy fog, their bags didn't make the trip and the bus broke down on its way to Champaign.
"It was a little bizarre," Forbes said. "We got in to Chicago about 9:30 or 10 last night. No bags. Got on the bus, the bus broke down. Had to get a new bus."
The team didn't get to their hotel until after 3 a.m. The luggage didn't arrive until less than two hours before the start of the game, causing the coaching staff to resort to wearing sweatpants and warm-up jackets instead of the usual suit and tie.
"We're going to bus home," Forbes said. "I'm not getting back on that plane again."
Kipper Nichols hit a reverse layup for Illinois with three defenders all but hanging on him early in the game, which brought the crowd to its feet and kicked off the 14-0 Illini scoring run.
ETSU: Plays Wyoming in the Sun Bowl Classic on Friday.
Illinois: Travels to St. Louis for the annual Braggin' Rights game against Missouri on Saturday.
Illini Women Top SIU-Edwardsville
Illinois pulled away from a stubborn SIU-Edwardsville squad to win 74-57 Saturday evening at State Farm Center.
Alex Wittinger led the Illini with 19 points and 8 rebounds, as the Cougars only trailed by five points at halftime before Illinois extended its lead in the second half.
"I thought SIUE shot the ball really well to start the game, I think it took us a little bit to adjust," Illinois head coach Nancy Fahey said. "After we did that, we locked down much better in the second half defensively, which gave us more points offensively."
Brandi Beasley and Ali Andrews joined Wittinger in double figures with 13 and 12 points, respectively.
Illinois improved to 8-2 on the season, its best start since the 2015-16 season. The Cougars fell to 4-4.
Fahey said the first few minutes of the third quarter were the deciding factor in the game.
"We were struggling a little bit from the three and I felt like the defense started creating some offense for us," Fahey said. "I felt like that punch in the third quarter was really significant for the rest of the game."
After some time off for final exams, the Illini will host Missouri at State Farm Center on Saturday December 21 with a 12pm tipoff.