LIVE! Men's basketball vs. East Tennessee State

LIVE! Men's basketball vs. East Tennessee State

FINAL — Illinois 73, ETSU 55

Illinois has its first two-game win streak of the season after knocking off ETSU. Jumping out to a 43-18 halftime advantage absolutely was the dagger, as the Bucs played a lot more evenly (better, in some stretches) with the Illini over the last 20 minutes.

One big story from this game is that neither Ayo Dosunmu nor Alan Griffin got off the bench this afternoon. Report was that Dosunmu was late for a morning shootaround. We'll find out more at the postgame presser.

Check out the website later today for a recap, notebook, grades and more from this Illini win.

 

2:41 remaining, second half — Illinois 70, ETSU 51

Another quick update ... Jeromy Rodriguez was a big concern for Illinois coming into this event. He was averaging 12 rebounds a night. He's at seven right now (all defensive), and has just two points, which came in the opening minute.

 

3:19 remaining, second half — Illinois 70, ETSU 51

Illinois still isn't perfect this half, but the Illini are getting more stops now. Trent Frazier is up to 25 points, Kipper Nichols has 14 and Giorgi Bezhanishvili has 12, including a nice reverse putback off a missed free throw right before this last media timeout.

ETSU is up to 20 turnovers, though it has been much more careful with the ball this half than in the first. That 12-minute stretch of radio silence looks likey to doom the Bucs.

 

7:58 remaining, second half — Illinois 59, ETSU 43

Buccaneers outscored the Illini 10-2 in that last stretch of nearly three minutes. ETSU looks a lot more aggressive to the ball, and a lot more patient in the paint than it was in the first half. I imagine this is what Steve Forbes expects from his crew on a full-game basis ... just took 20 minutes to get there today.

Illinois could use a mini-run in the near future. Points have been hard to come by this half, and every bit of confidence the Bucs get is no bueno at this stage.

 

10:52 remaining, second half — Illinois 57, ETSU 33

The Illini have five turnovers in the second half, the same number they had in all of the first 20 minutes. ETSU has upped its defensive pressure, but this more so looks like a less-prounounced version of Illinois trying to run down some clock, as it did against UNLV.

Trent Frazier is up to 23 points while shooting 8 of 13 from the field. Giorgi Bezhanishvili has reached 10 points as well. Daivien Williams has notched 15 for ETSU.

 

15:24 remaining, second half — Illinois 49, ETSU 25

The Bucs went on a 7-0 run to start the second half — more than a third of their first-half points — and prompted Brad Underwood to yank Giorgi Bezhanishvili in favor of Samba Kane. Bezhanishvili had a rough few possession to start this half, including a sky hook that hit nothing.

But Da'Monte Williams and Trent Frazier nailed back-to-back threes to stem the tide. Frazier is shooting a robust 6 of 8 from distance.

 

HALFTIME — Illinois 43, ETSU 18

Illinois dominated every aspect of the game in the first half, and holds a sizable edge over what looked to be a weary East Tennessee State club.

Illini shot 45.5 percent from the field, versus 31.6 percent for ETSU. The Bucs at one time went 12 minutes without a field goal converted.

ETSU also has committed 14 turnovers versus just five for Illinois. The Illini defense and rebounding both have been impressive and effective, with Illinois outboarding ETSU 20-16, including 7-3 on the offensive end.

Trent Frazier has 18 points at half, including five made three-pointers. Kipper Nichols boasts 10 points for Illinois, and Aaron Jordan has collected nine rebounds.

Daivien Williamson's nine points pace ETSU.

 

3:45 remaining, first half — Illinois 37, ETSU 10

Trent Frazier gave Illini Nation a bit of a scare when he tumbled to the floor after a pretty basic foul underneath the net, then had Aaron Jordan land on top of him. Frazier was a bit gimpy immediately after. But he shook it off and fed Kipper Nichols on a nicely-lofted lob for an easy Nichols layup moments later.

ETSU hit its 10th turnover with five minutes to play in the half. The Bucs are now at 13 for the afternoon. Been absolutely brutal sledding for the Bucs since the word "go."

 

6:47 remaining, first half — Illinois 29, ETSU 8

The Bucs went 12 minutes, 4 seconds between field goals. After Jeromy Rodriguez's dunk for the first points of the game, it took until the 6:58 mark for Daivien Williamson to drain a far-corner three.

Plenty of credit goes to the Illinois defense, which has forced nine turnovers, but the Bucs are doing nothing to help themselves as far as shot selection and missing a couple bunnies. They look like a team that's had travel problems.

Trent Frazier (nine points) and Kipper Nichols (eight) lead Illinois in scoring.

 

10:56 remaining, first half — Illinois 21, ETSU 5

We nearly had a fracas at State Farm Center, as Da'Monte Williams and Isaiah Tisdale got tangled up on a pick play and tumbled to the deck. Williams came up looking quite upset, but Aaron Jordan immediately pulled him away from Tisdale.

Tisdale was ejected for his role in the play, leaving an already beleaguered bunch of Bucs down a man the rest of the day.

 

11:24 remaining, first half — Illinois 18, ETSU 5

Outside the first two possessions, perhaps the one thing Illinois has struggled with is three-point fouls. The Illini already have committed two, though the Bucs are shooting just 50 percent from the charity stripe in response.

Kipper Nichols already has eight points to lead Illinois. Ayo Dosunmu still hasn't seen the floor after reportedly being late to the morning shootaround. That is apparently why Da'Monte Williams was in the starting lineup over Dosunmu.

 

12:54 remaining, first half — Illinois 15, ETSU 4

The Illini have forced the Bucs into six turnovers so far. ETSU came into this game averaging nearly 15 per tilt, and they're well on their way to that mark at this rate.

Kipper Nichols with a nice defensive play leading to a good offensive play. He pinned a Jeromy Rodriguez layup attempt to the boards, then came back with a reverse layup for two points.

 

15:51 remaining, first half — Illinois 7, ETSU 2

Both teams started with a bevy of turnovers. The Illini gave it up on each of their first two possessions, while the Bucs have a rough five giveaways already.

Giorgi Bezhanishvili with a good couple possessions before the first timeout. He nails a midrange jumper to make it 5-2, then forces a turnover with his reach and finishes on a Trent Frazier assist off said turnover.

Bucs coach Steve Forbes is not amused, as his team appears to be a little sluggish after its travel problems getting to Champaign.

 

12:50 p.m. — 10 minutes before tipoff

Starters for Illinois are almost all the same as last weekend, with one notable exception. Da'Monte Williams checks in for Ayo Dosunmu. Williams will be surrounded by Trent Frazier, Aaron Jordan, Kipper Nichols and Giorgi Bezhanishvili.

ETSU's starters are Isaiah Tisdale, Bo Hodges, Tray Boyd III, Jeromy Rodriguez and Mladen Armus.

 

12:40 p.m. — 15 minutes before tipoff

We'll just go ahead and call this ... not promising.

The attendance last week against UNLV was listed at 12,268, and that was generous. I'd say it's going to be even lower today, no matter what the released number is.

Of course, winning goes a long way toward getting butts back in seats. Even against a relative unknown (in these parts), a convincing victory would be a good sign.

 

12:15 p.m. — Half hour before tipoff

East Tennessee State's travel woes received national attention both late last night and early this morning.

It's safe to say the Buccaneers are going to have some sympathetic backing from beyond State Farm Center today. It's unlikely that extends to the orange-and-blue-clad fans within this building.

 

Noon — One hour before tipoff, East Tennessee State at Illinois

Illinois is in the midst of a rare week with just one game on the docket, and that event tips off at 1 p.m. today from State Farm Center. For the first time in program history, the Illini host East Tennessee State out of the Southern Conference.

Illinois is coming off a 77-74 victory over UNLV to improve its record to 3-7. Meanwhile, the Buccaneers sit at 8-3 and have won two in a row. Their losses are to Georgia State, Creighton and Wofford. The strength of schedule certainly isn't in ETSU's favor.

Also not in the cards for the Buccaneers was a helpful travel schedule.

So the Buccaneers might be a bit tired getting onto the StateFarm Center floor this afternoon. One player Illinois will hope is a bit weary is Jeromy Rodriguez, who averages 12 rebounds a contest and rated third in the nation in boards per game entering Friday's action.

We've got some pregame content for your reading pleasure as well. Follow along all afternoon with updates from this game, as there is no mainstream TV coverage today.

Fog complicates travel for East Tennessee State (Update: The team has its luggage).

Ayo Dosunmu ready to run for Illini.

Samba Kane, Andres Feliz boost Illini.

Projected lineups and more pregame information on UI-ETSU.

Post-practice words from Brad Underwood, Trent Frazier, Ayo Dosunmu on Friday.

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