UI 66, Eastern Kentucky 53: Just the facts
Our quick read on Sunday's game:
The Illini shook off another sluggish first half in which they shot 38 percent from the floor and blistered the nets in the second half, shooting 67 percent (14 for 21) to pull away from the pesky Colonels, handing them their first loss of the season and improving their own mark to 12-0 for the first time since the 2005-06 Illini started 15-0.
WHAT THE COLONELS SAID
“Our defense forced Big Ten guards into 20 turnovers overall. I really thought our ball pressure was tremendous.” — coach Jeff Neubauer
WHAT THE ILLINI SAID
“The biggest thing, as I’ll be driving home in my car tonight, I’m proud of these guys for their effort, their toughness. We played, we battled, we fought and that’s what we were looking for.” — coach John Groce
WHAT IT MEANS
John Groce and Fletcher Lane (1907-08) are the only coaches at Illinois to start their careers at the school 12-0 and the Illini will end the season having won 22 in a row at home against nonconference opponents.
After final exams, the Illini will look to end a three-game losing streak to Missouri in the annual Braggin’ Rights game in St. Louis on Saturday. It’ll be the first meeting where each of the rivals is ranked inside the Top 15 since the 2002-03 season.