Just what the doctor ordered; a rampage through a hapless patsy.
Things had been going pretty well for the Illini, especially if his name were Kofi Cockburn. But as the team’s focus shifted, appropriately, to feeding its Monster in the Middle, individual stats suffered.
Saturday night, everybody got a chance.
Was it more important for Alan Griffin or Ayo Dosunmu? That’s the sort of question sports people ask, because sports people are incessantly looking for any available over/under. For better or worse, and it’s arguably for worse, sports is about winners & losers.
The answer is that it was better for Ayo Dosunmu and Alan Griffin. The answer is that Illinois basketball got a shot in the arm by allowing everybody to bask in the glory of a slaughter.
Scoring 20 and 19 points respectively, Ayo and Alan almost visibly swelled with confidence. And they got their points quickly enough to allow plenty of minutes for the guys who don’t usually get to play.
Brad Underwood name-checked both Ayo and Alan in his postgame comments, and didn’t say they’d been struggling.
Ayo enjoyed the opportunity to run an open (or at least disorganized) floor against the Pirates. Alan got open looks, converted 3-of-7 from the arc, and made one spectacular tip-in which is almost certainly susceptible to Search, now that everything is recorded.
Unfortunately I didn’t get a picture of it. (It happened at the other end from me, as did Da’Monte’s alley-oop dunk.) But I did get a good picture of Alan.
Ben Bosmans-Verdonk dished four assists during his ten minutes of PT. He also grabbed two rebounds and two steals, and scored four points (and committed three fouls). Tevian Jones watched from the bench, and seemed to enjoy the performance despite the obvious point that he could have enjoyed those minutes himself.
Jermaine Hamlin got nine minutes of tick, and converted a pair of FGAs. The first was a left-handed hook shot. The second was a dunk that kept going and going and going.
No-nonsense referee Keith Kimble, who has never smiled, finally grew bored with watching Hamlin hanging from the rim, and assessed a T.