Bob Asmussen's take on Saturday's game in Chicago: Illinois 81, Auburn 79
PLAYER OF THE GAME: Illinois’ Tracy Abrams
Apparently, a week was enough time for the guard to get over a dreadful performance against Missouri. Illinois doesn’t end a three-game United Center skid without the career-high points and rebounds from the former Chicago Mount Carmel star. And he made big defensive plays too.
Auburn B-, Illinois B
Brandon Paul and D.J. Richardson struggled with their shooting (a combined 5 for 19), but they contributed in other ways, pulling down 12 rebounds. It’s a good sign for Illinois that it can win when Paul is 0 for 4 on three-pointers.Frankie Sullivan helped get Auburn back in the game, hitting five three-pointers.
Auburn C, Illinois C
Nnanna Egwu did not continue his offensive ways from the Braggin’ Rights game. Illinois will need more than two rebounds from him once Big Ten games start. Tyler Griffey his usual steady self, hitting key shots from the floor. Auburn’s Rob Chubb (his real name) was effective on the inside.
Auburn C-, Illinois B+
Joseph Bertrand, Sam McLaurin, Myke Henry and Devin Langford were a combined 7 of 8 from the field, scoring 19 points. McLaurin showed his experience in the final minute, saving the Illini a turnover by making himself available for an outlet pass. Most of Auburn’s points came from the starters, which could be a problem in the SEC.
Auburn C, Illinois B
Turn off the panic buttons, Illini Nation. This isn’t going to be a repeat of the 2011-12 meltdown. Next step for John Groce’s team is to go to Purdue on Wednesday and get a rare Illini win at Mackey Arena. Could be a tough year for the Tigers, though the SEC isn’t loaded in this sport.