Hill’s scores 16, leads Illinois past Austin Peay
CHAMPAIGN, Ill. (AP) For a team that was 11th in the Big Ten last season in scoring, Illinois’ offense has been nearly unstoppable to start the season.
Malcolm Hill led Illinois with a career-high 16 points and added six rebounds in a 107-66 victory over Austin Peay on Friday.
This was the second straight game where Illinois went over 100 points, after the Illini posted 114 points in a victory over Coppin State last Sunday. The last time Illinois hit the century mark in back-to-back games was in December 1993. It also tied a school record for 3-pointers made in back-to-back games, with 29.
Illinois shot 56 percent from deep and 59.7 percent overall. Illinois is shooting 50 percent as a team from 3-point range this season.
”I don’t think we offered much resistance outside of the first six or eight minutes of the game,” Austin Peay coach Dave Loos said. ”It’s been a long time since I’ve seen a team shoot the ball as well they did tonight.”
In the first game of the Continental Tire Las Vegas Invitational, the Illini cruised for much of the night.
A 13-2 run midway through the first half pushed the Illini’s (3-0) lead to double-digits and Austin Peay (1-3) never threatened in the second half as the lead swelled to as many as 44. Five players reached double figures for Illinois.
Illinois started slowly and scored just six points in the game’s first five minutes. Illinois coach John Groce brought in four substitutions less than four minutes into the game.
The Illini relied on a barrage of threes offensively, hitting seven in the first half and 14 for the game.
”The thing that stands out most to me was our unselfishness. I thought we passed up shots to go from good to great,” Groce said. ”There were some possessions that were pretty fun to watch.”
Rayvonte Rice scored 16 points on 6-of-6 shooting, while Kendrick Nunn was 4-for-4 on 3-pointers, finishing with 14 points for Illinois.
Chris Freeman led Austin Peay with 13 points.
Illinois was able to limit Austin Peay’s strong frontcourt. Freeman and Chris Horton each averaged over 16 points per game entering the contest but were stifled for much of the game. Horton added six points on 1-of-7 shooting.
It marks the first time this season that Horton didn’t reach double figures scoring.
For the second consecutive game, Hill set a career-high in points after scoring 13 points against Coppin State last Sunday.
Austin Peay: Austin Peay is 0-3 this season when shooting over 40 percent as a team. In their lone win against Berea, the Governors shot 37.5 percent as a team.
Illinois: The Illini are the only team in the country to be undefeated in November over the last four years after Syracuse lost to California yesterday. Illinois is 29-0 over that span.
Austin Peay will play at Indiana State on Monday.
Illinois will host Brown on Monday.
After reaching double-figures for scoring just five times as a freshman last season, Hill has reached that mark in each of the first three games this season. Hill has recorded at least seven rebounds in each of the first three contests of the season after only reaching that number once last season.
He set a career-high in points, rebounds, assists and steals in a win against Coppin State on Nov. 16 and reset his scoring high against the Governors.