Illini Men Suffer Third Consecutive Blowout Road Loss
The Illini men caused few problems for Purdue Tuesday night in West Lafayette, Indiana, losing by a final score of 91 to 68.
Purdue’s Isaac Haas scored 24 points and teammate Caleb Swanigan converted his 15th double-double of the season with 22 points and 10 rebounds, as the Boilermakers maintained a 20-point lead throughout the second half.
In three Big Ten road games thus far, Illinois has been beaten by an average of 21 points.
Illinois Senior Malcolm Hill had strong words for his teammates in the postgame locker room.
“I think it’s time for me to express myself just a little bit more”, said Hill. “I’m naturally a quiet, shy guy, but I’m open to new things, and maybe just being more expressive can help this team out. We can’t control if shots go in or not. What we can control is having a presence on the defensive end. One thing I don’t want to be remembered is someone that didn’t get a chance to place in the NCAA tournament. I think I have more to give to this organization. It’s my job to make sure everybody else gives more from a player standpoint.”
Hill scored 12 points and added 5 assists for Illinois. Maverick Morgan led the Illini in scoring with 15 points.
A long slump deepened for sixth year graduate student Tracy Abrams, who connected on only 1-of-6 shots and only 2-of-5 free throws.
Illini freshman point guard Te'Jon Lucas finished with ten points, two assists, two steals, two turnovers and four fouls in 19 minutes of action.
Illini coach John Groce has now suffered a dozen 20--point losses in his tenure. That's 50-percent more than his three predecessors combined. But Groce insisted there's still time to reverse this season's fortunes.
“We need to be a lot more consistent”, said Groce, who noted that the team had played well only “in stretches”. “We need some individuals to step up, that have got to play better than they’re playing right now. We still got a lot of season left. We’ve got a lot of Big Ten games left. I always tell them we don’t get too high or too low with a game.
The Illini are now 12-and-7 overall, and 2-and-4 in conference. They'll travel to Ann Arbor this weekend for a second encounter with Michigan's Wolverines.
Purdue improves to 15-and-4 overall, and 4-and-2 in the Big Ten.