A sophomore at the time, Bertrand came off the bench against No. 8 Missouri, posting 19 points on 9-for-9 shooting. The game was a breakthrough, as he had posted double digits scoring only once before and had scored a total of two points the previous six games.
"Coach was just telling us to be aggressive," Bertrand said. "It was a big game for everybody and he wanted us to be aggressive and leave everything on the court. I kind of took that and ran with it."
Jan.7, 2012 - Illinois 59, Nebraska 54 - Bertrand ups career-high as a starter.
Making his third career start, Bertrand hit 11 of his 12 shots, including a floater, what would become a signature shot of his, that gave Illinois the lead for good with less than a minute to play. He finished the game with 25 points, two rebounds and two assists.
Nov. 28, 2012 - Illinois 75, Georgia Tech 62 - A 10-0 run all of his own.
Illinois trailed in the second half of this ACC-Big Ten match-up until Bertrand ignited for 10 straight points, including two 3-pointers and a transition lay-up that displayed all of his elite athleticism. Bertrand put up 12 of his 15 points in the second half and was 6 of 8 from the floor.
"Until you get to know him, Joe sometimes comes off like a quiet guy, but he's got some big-time energy," coach John Groce said after the game. "I very rarely will watch practice film or game film and say, 'Bertrand isn't playing hard.' "
Said Bertrand: "I'm looking to shoot them more this year. I was driving more last year. I'm looking to do both."
Feb. 1, 2014 - Iowa 81, Illinois 74 - Bertrand drops 20 as Illini fall short against rival Hawkeyes.
Bertrand turned in one of his best performances of his senior season as Illinois fought back from a 21-point deficit to nearly upset then No. 15 Iowa. He posted 20 points on 7 of 10 shooting, his best game in terms of offensive production of the season.
Dec. 31, 2013 - Illinois 83, Indiana 80 - ‘Fly young man, fly'
Bertrand logged 39 minutes and scored 13 points as Illinois beat Indiana in overtime in the Big Ten season-opening clash on New Year's Eve. He produced the highlight of the game with a reverse alley oop dunk that sent the crowd into a frenzy as radio commentator Jerry Hester said, "fly young man, fly."