Illini Basketball Report Card: vs. Rutgers, Feb. 9, 2019

Illini Basketball Report Card: vs. Rutgers, Feb. 9, 2019

Player of the game | Illinois forward Giorgi Bezhanishvili

No question about this one. The Illini freshman had just six points at halftime Saturday against Rutgers. By the end of overtime and Illinois' 99-94 victory? The Rustavi, Georgia, native had a career-high 35 points to go with a team-high seven rebounds.

Backcourt

Illinois: B+

Rutgers: A-

The Illini had three guards in double figures, with Trent Frazier, Ayo Dosunmu and Aaron Jordan combining for 39 points. But the Scarlet Knights' guards were just as effective, led by Caleb McConnell's career-high 25 points.

Frontcourt

Illinois: A+

Rutgers: C-

The best game of Bezhanishvili's career — the best scoring performance by an Illini freshman ever, surpassing Deon Thomas' 34 points against Wisconsin-Milwaukee on Dec. 3, 1990 — certainly stands out, but Adonis De La Rosa provided good minutes off the bench in the first half.

Bench

Illinois: B-

Rutgers: A-

McConnell's offensive outburst stands out considering he entered the game averaging just 3.8 points. His 25 made up most of the Scarlet Knights' bench production. Andres Feliz nearly made it five Illini in double figures with nine points.

Overall

Illinois: A-

Rutgers: B+

The Illini haven't won three straight Big Ten games since the end of the 2016-17 season. Doing so in their three-game homestand was the goal. Mission accomplished. Making it four in a row (and matching the length of that 2016-17 streak) on the road Thursday at Ohio State is the next challenge.

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