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It's a winning streak! For the first time since the Illini started Big Ten play 2-0, they've won back-to-back games, knocking off Nebraska 60-49. As the score indicates, the Illini defense was very good tonight, holding the Huskers' top three scorers to 23 combined points and forcing 15 Nebraska turnovers. The defense will be featured in one of tonight's nominees for the Dick Van Dyke Appliance World "WOW!" Play of the Game. That's my pick. What's yours? Name it in the comments below.
As for head coach John Groce, he was very pleased with the defensive effort tonight as well.
As for tonight's efficiency stats, they tell a similar story:
The last four stats listed there (eFG%, OReb%, TO%, and FTA/FGA) are what Ken Pomeroy calls the "four factors" in determining how efficient a team is. The Illini won three of those four categories decisively, and came close in the fourth. That adds up to an Illinois win. Next up is a trip to East Lansing, where the Illini will look for their first win since 2006. Thanks for reading.
Not a bad first half for the Illini, but you get the feeling the lead should be a bit bigger than 27-24. The Cornhuskers struggled to score, but seven Illinois turnovers helped Nebraska keep it close. Kendrick Nunn continues to feel it, as he leads the Illini with 10 points. We also had a Joe Bertrand sighting, as the senior chipped in 6 points off the bench. Now for the efficiency stats:
Can the Illini win their second straight? We'll find out in about an hour. More after the game.