CHAMPAIGN — Coleman Hawkins had 15 points, 10 rebounds and 10 assists, and No. 16 Illinois thumped Syracuse 73-44 in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge.
Neither team shot well, but Illinois hit 6 of its 15 3-point attempts in the second half to send the Orange home with their third straight loss.
Terrence Shannon Jr. had 17 points on 5-of-17 shooting for the Illini. All of his makes were 3s.
Jesse Edwards had nine points and 17 rebounds to lead Syracuse, and Judah Mintz also scored nine.
Hawkins sent a lively crowd into a frenzy by securing his 10th rebound to complete the triple-double with 1:34 to go.
Hawkins spoke after the game about how important Coach Brad Underwood’s faith in him is.
“It’s just a motivating thing when a coach comes to you and asks you what you see out there,” Hawkins said. “My confidence is sky high when stuff like that happens, so just knowing that he trusts me, it means a lot.”
Underwood was pleased with his team’s defensive effort, holding Syracuse to just 28-percent shooting for the game and forcing 17 turnovers.
“We’ve worn people out,” Underwood said. “We sped them up. I thought we got some non-handlers handling the ball. That’s huge for us.”
Next for the 16th- ranked Illini is a trip to No. 22 Maryland this Friday in the Big Ten Conference opener for both teams.
Illinois Student Newsroom reporter Colin Hislope contributed reporting to this story.