Illini grade vs. Western Carolina: C-
PLAYER OF THE GAME
Tracy Abrams, Illinois. The sophomore point guard hadn’t played as well as he would have liked after returning from Hawaii, but he was solid Tuesday, scoring 10 points to go along with three assists, five rebounds and no turnovers.
Western Carolina B+
Brandon Paul (14 points) did what he does and D.J. Richardson’s two late threes helped the Illini pull away in a game that was tied with less than six minutes remaining.
Western Carolina C
Tyler Griffey had an off night shooting and Nnanna Egwu fouled out after scoring five points in 17 minutes against the smaller Catamounts.
Western Carolina A
Joseph Bertrand (seven points) cooled off a bit, but Myke Henry (nine points) made the most of his 12 minutes to spark Illinois. And Sam McLaurin’s four offensive rebounds and five points were key.
Western Carolina B
It’s going to take a much better effort to hang with No. 10 Gonzaga on Saturday. They’re not happy after this one, but the Illini found a way to get to 9-0, and that’s what matters.