Jordan Scores 20 as Illini Suffer First Loss, EIU Drops Decision


Published on November 29 2017 7:05 am
Last Updated on November 29 2017 7:05 am
Written by Millie Lange

WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. (AP) – Junior guard Aaron Jordan scored a career-high 20 points, but it wasn't enough as Wake Forest held off a late Illini surge for an 80-73 win in the Big Ten/ACC Challenge Tuesday night.

Kipper Nichols added 14 and Leron Black finishing with 10. Jordan, who entered the game leading the NCAA in 3-point percentage (15 of 23, 65.2 percent), made 4 of 6 against the Deacons.

It was the first loss for the Illini (6-1), who played their first six games at home and sought their first non-conference road win since beating Boston University in the NIT on March 19, 2014.

After grabbing a 27-20 lead with 8:56 left in the first half, Illinois went cold from the floor and endured a scoreless stretch of 5 minutes, 21 seconds as Wake Forest clawed back into the game.

"We had a bad stretch in the first half with three straight turnovers and we took two quick shots," Illinois coach Brad Underwood said. "We weren't getting the ball to the interior of their zone and combine that with the turnovers and the fouls we were committing in the backcourt and they were parading to the free throw line."

The Deacons were on a 13-2 run at the end of the first half, making 6 of 8 free throws during the stretch, before Nichols' 3-pointer at the buzzer stopped the bleeding.

Leading 35-34 at halftime, the Deacons used an 11-0 run early in the second half to take a 49-39 lead. Illinois closed to within 1 at 56-55 on a 3-pointer by Black with 9:25 left but could get no closer.

The Deacons made 10 of 13 free throws in the second half and 19 of 23 for the game, something that was not lost on Manning.

"It's one thing to get to the free throw line, but our guys are doing a pretty good job right now of making them as well," Manning said. "So, we've got to continue to reward ourselves when we get there by knocking them down."

Despite the loss, Underwood said he saw some positive signs from his team.

"I liked our fight and I liked our competitiveness, but we probably shot too many 3's tonight," Underwood said. "A lot of credit to Wake Forest as they continue to get better as the season goes on.

Illinois will begin Big Ten Conference play at Northwestern on Friday, December 1.


• Illinois lost for the first time this season in its first road game.

• Illinois' bench scored 43 points, led by Aaron Jordan's 20-point game.

• Illinois out-rebounded Wake Forest, 39-25.

• Illinois limited Wake Forest to three second-chance points.

• Illinois tied a season-high 12 three-pointers made (12-29). The Illini also went 12-29 last game vs. N.C. Central.

• Wake Forest outscored Illinois in points off turnovers, 28-9. The Illini turned it over a season-high 19 times.

• Illinois was 13-of-14 shooting from the line (92.4 percent). It was the Illini's least free-throws attempted of the season.

• Illinois trailed at the half, 35-34.


• Junior guard Aaron Jordan scored a career-high 20 points (previous high 17 vs. Southern 11/10/17). Jordan is 12-of-15 shooting from three-point range in the last three games. He has a career-best four threes in each of the last three games. He entered the game leading the nation in three-point field goal percentage and, after going 4-of-6 tonight, is now 19-of-29 on the season (.655)

• RS Junior forward Leron Black scored 10 points, his sixth double-digit scoring game of the season. Black is averaging a team-best 14.0 points per game.

RS Sophomore forward Kipper Nichols scored 14 points, his fifth double-digit scoring game of the season.

• Freshman guard Trent Frazier had three steals, his third multi-steal game of the season.

Cleveland State 77, EIU 69

Cleveland State handed the Eastern Illinois women's basketball team their fifth loss this season to close out EIU's three game road trip. The Panthers fell to 1-5 with the 77-69 loss. The Vikings improve to 4-2 on the season.

Grace Lennox led the Panthers with a season high performance of 24 points. Lennox also dished out five assists, tallied five steals, and grabbed four rebounds. Jennifer Nehls also finished in double-figures for EIU. She scored 12 points with four rebounds and four assists.

The game saw four lead changes as the teams battled through the four quarters. EIU won the first and third quarters, but let the Vikings outscore them by nine in the second and two in the fourth leading to the Panthers eight point loss. The teams shot evenly through the game. The Panthers finished shooting 46.7 percent from the field and 33.3 percent from the arc while the Vikings shot 49 percent from the field and 31 percent from the arc.

The Panthers bench outscored Cleveland State's 21-19 with big performances from Taylor Steele and Jalisha Smith. Steele connected on 3-of-5 from behind the arc recording nine points for the Panthers. Smith scored a season high nine points on 4-of-5 field goals. Smith also tallied four rebounds.

Five players scored in double-figures for the Vikings. Ashanti Abshaw had a team high 20 points while Mariah Miller and Jade Ely each added 14. Khayla Livingston and Olivia Voskuhl scored 12 apiece.

EIU will return home to Lantz Arena on Tuesday Dec. 5 to take on the Bradley Braves at 6 pm.