Illinois dominates Southern, 102-55 in Brad Underwood's debut
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CHAMPAIGN, Ill. (AP) Graduate transfer Mark Alstork scored 17 points and snagged 10 rebounds Friday night, helping lead Illinois to a 102-55 victory over Southern in the first game of coach Brad Underwood’s career with the Illini.
The Illini shot just 4 of 21 from behind the arc, but secured a decisive win over the Jaguars by pounding the glass and playing smothering defense.
Southern was outrebounded 42-26 and shot just 37.3 percent from the field.
Underwood used his reserves a lot in his debut and junior Aaron Jordan responded.
Jordan finished with 17 points off the bench, knocking down two 3-pointers and all seven of his free throw attempts.
Jared Sam led the way for the Jaguars with 21 points, the only Jaguar to reach double figures.
Eddie Reese scored the Jaguars first basket of the year, but finished with just seven points and five turnovers.
Michael Finke scored Illinois’ first field goal of the season on a right hand jam after missed jumper by Alstork. He finished with 12 points and six rebounds.
Illinois: A week after its 13-point loss to Eastern Illinois, Illinois bounced back with a big win over Southern to usher in the Underwood era. The Illini pressed the ball heavily on defense, forcing 22 turnovers.
Southern: The Jaguars lost their two leading scorers from last season and it showed against the Illini. Southern didn’t crack double-figures until the 10:58 mark of the first half, and are clearly in need of players who will help fill that scoring void.
Illinois: The Illini have a quick turnaround and will suit up again Sunday evening against Middle Tennesse-State. The Skyhawks finished 22-13 last season.
Southern: Southern will be back in action Monday night against Marshall. The Herd won 20 games last season, losing in the championship game of the Conference USA Men’s Basketball Tournament.