Rebounding, Defense Power Illini Over Hoyas

Despite poor shooting on Thursday evening, the Illini used great offensive rebounding, and a very stingy defense to take care of the Georgetown Hoyas inside Assembly Hall in front of a national television audience on ESPN. Led by James Augustine's double double, the Illini defeated the Hoyas by ten, 58-48.

Even the snowstorm that swept through the Midwest could not keep the Illini faithful from heading to Assembly Hall to watch their Fighting Illini take on the Georgetown Hoyas on Thursday evening. The Illini won their ninth-straight game to open up the season thanks to a stifling defense that held the Hoyas to 38.0% shooting from the floor, and just 13 points in the first half.

The Illini offense was as cold as the weather outside, but they used some timely shooting from junior Rich McBride and freshman Jamar Smith, and tenacity on the glass, both defensive and offensive to go along with their defense to handle the Hoyas without too much difficulty. The Ilini came out the gate very quickly on Thursday night, something they had not done in the previous two games as they jumped out to a 10-0 lead before the Georgetown even scored their first points.

Seniors Dee Brown and James Augustine were the only Illini to score in double figures, and Augustine recorded his fourth double double of the season by pulling down 13 rebounds, 5 of them offensive. Brown led the Illini with 16 points on 5-for-16 shooting while handing out three assists. With the entire Illini team shooting poorly (32.3% from the floor for the game), they really relied on offensive rebounding to get easy baskets (Brian Randle led the Illini with 6 offensive rebounds), and keep the offense rather efficient.

Pace: 57.16
Offensive Efficiency: 101.47
Defensive Efficiency: 83.97
Defensive Rebounding Percentage: 71.88%
Offensive Rebounding Percentage: 51.22%

The Illini allowed the Hoyas to control the pace on Thursday night, but once Illinois was up 15, the need to push the tempo became non-existent, and with Georgetown wanting to play a slow it down game it made things easy for the Illini. To comeback against the Illini in the second half, the Hoyas would have had to play a near perfect second half at the pace they wanted to play, and they did not do that, especially defensively. While Roy Hibbert was a defensive force on the inside with 6 blocks and 7 rebounds, he could not keep Illinois off the offensive glass himself, and the Illini continued to beat Georgetown to the basketball and get easy points, even when their shots were not falling for the most part.

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