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Illinois at Grand Canyon

8 p.m. today

Lineups

Illinois (1-0)

Starters

P Name Yr. Ht. PPG

G Andres Feliz Sr. 6-2 23.0

G Trent Frazier Jr. 6-2 4.0

G Ayo Dosunmu So. 6-5 21.0

F Giorgi Bezhanishvili So. 6-9 11.0

C Kofi Cockburn Fr. 7-0 10.0

FYI: The Illini’s 20 offensive rebounds in their season-opening win against Nicholls State was more than they had in any game last season. Cockburn led the way with six offensive rebounds against the Colonels and all five of Alan Griffin’s rebounds came on the offensive end.

Off the bench

G Da’Monte Williams Jr. 6-3 2.0

G Alan Griffin So. 6-5 7.0

F Kipper Nichols R-Sr. 6-6 0.0

Grand Canyon (0-1)

Starters

P Name Yr. Ht. PPG

G Jovan Blackher Jr. Fr. 5-11 15.0

G Isiah Brown R-Jr. 6-2 15.0

G Carlos Johnson Sr. 6-4 22.0

F Lorenzo Jenkins R-Sr. 6-7 10.0

C Alessandro Lever Jr. 6-10 5.0

FYI: While Lever did play against Illinois in the only other game between the two programs (he had 13 points), Brown has the most experience against the Illini. The former Northwestern guard has played three games against Illinois in his career, averaging 6.3 points and two rebounds.

Off the bench

G J.J. Rhymes R-Jr. 6-4 6.0

F Bryce Okpoh Fr. 6-7 0.0

C Louis Bangai R-Jr. 6-10 —

Details

Site: GCU Arena (7,000), Phoenix.

Radio: Brian Barnhart (play-by-play) and former Illini Deon Thomas (analysis) will have the call on the Illini Sports Network on WDWS 1400-AM, WHMS 97.5-FM, WDAN 1490-AM, WDNL 102.1 FM and WPXN 104.9-FM.

TV: Simulcast on WCIX with Barry Buetel (play-by-play) and Scott Williams (analysis) on the call.

Online: Stream available on ESPN3.

Series history: Illinois leads series 1-0.

Last meeting: Illinois won 62-58 on Dec. 30, 2017, in Champaign.

FYI: Former Illinois guard Jerry Colangelo, one of the inaugural members of the Illinois Hall of Fame in 2017, is a bridge between the Illini and Grand Canyon. Colangelo, whose name graces Grand Canyon’s business school, was a driving force behind the Antelopes going Division I.

Scott Richey’s storylines

Tight rotation

Grand Canyon played just seven players in its season-opening loss to Division II Davenport (Mich.) University. That short rotation was born from a number of reasons. Antelopes’ coach Dan Majerle didn’t play a few of his players. Sophomore forward Gabe McGlothan is sitting out after transferring from Southeast Missouri. Redshirt junior guard Mikey Dixon won’t be eligible until December after transferring from St. John’s. Returning starter and senior forward Oscar Frayer and TCU transfer and junior guard Jaylen Fisher — a former top 70 recruit — won’t be eligible until the end of the semester. “We’d like to have more bodies,” Majerle told reporters after the game. “It’s hard to get out and run when you don’t get any stops.”

Hostile environment

Brad Underwood watched Grand Canyon’s loss to Davenport on Tuesday night after his team escaped with a win against Nicholls State. The Illinois coach had to turn the volume down on the game to ensure he could truly focus on what the ‘Lopes were doing on the court. “It sounded like watching a EuroLeague game with all the horns and noise and commotion,” Underwood said. “It’s something we’re going to have to be prepared for.” Illinois jacked up the noise level in Wednesday’s practice before it left for Arizona. “You can’t let that bother you,” Underwood said. “You have to talk and play through that.”

Off the bench

Da’Monte Williams, Alan Griffin and Kipper Nichols all played fewer minutes in the second half Tuesday against Nicholls State than they did in the first as Underwood tightened his rotation and leaned more on his starters. Williams was the one the Illini coach said he wanted to get on the court more. “Da’Monte’s passing, we missed a lot (Tuesday) night,” he said. “Looking back I should have played him more. He’s a guy that shares the ball and passes it and makes the right reads.”

Prediction: Illinois 83, Grand Canyon 69

Neither team enters Friday’s game feeling a whole lot of momentum after varying degrees of struggles in their respective season openers. At least Illinois won. Doing so again will come down to the Illini handling life on the road in a seriously hostile environment. Limiting turnovers won’t hurt, either. (N-G prediction record: 1-0)

Scott Richey covers college basketball for The News-Gazette. His email is srichey@news-gazette.com, and you can follow him on Twitter (@srrichey).

College/Prep Sports Reporter

Scott Richey is a reporter covering college basketball at The News-Gazette. His email is srichey@news-gazette.com, and you can follow him on Twitter (@srrichey).