Six Illini Score Double-Figures in Blowout Exhibition Win
Six Illini scored double-figures as the men's basketball team rolled past the Division II Lewis University Flyers 95-51 Friday night at the University of Illinois State Farm Center, in the second of two pre-season exhibition games.
Michael Finke grabbed a game-high 9 rebounds and joined Maverick Morgan and Malcolm Hill in scoring 13 points. Tracy Abrams added 10 points, and Mike Thorne 12 on a perfect 6-of-6 shooting night. But the leading scorer was Jalen Coleman-Lands with 16 points.
Afterwards, Coleman-Lands attributed the blowout to his team's physical conditioning, and a determination to play at a faster pace.
“We put a lot more pressure on the defense, especially with our personnel”, said Coleman-Lands. “We have a lot of people who can drive … So right on the floor, we definitely chased our opposing teams on whether or not they’re in condition to run.”
Thorne left the bench for a brief period due to a cramp in his thigh, causing much alarm among Illini-oriented social media. After the game, he admitted that his return from major surgery, after suffering a torn meniscus last year, was much more difficult than he anticipated.
“Coming back, I did work hard over the summer to cut my body fat under ten percent”, said Thorne. “I thought I was just going to walk back into practice and be similar to what I was. I don’t know if you saw me when I was playing at a high level …. That first week or two (back) at practice, I got slapped in the face. It was just like, ‘damn, can I ever play ball anymore?’. My teammates and coaches would have my back, keep pushing me every day. They’re telling me, ‘you’re going to get it back’, all of them, collectively. So that’s been a big help to me.”
Delaney Blaylock led the Flyers with 12 points.
The Illini tip off the regular season next Friday night at 7 p.m. at the State Farm Center, playing against Southeast Missouri State.