Illinois Fighting Illini guard Joseph Bertrand had a big night on Wednesday in his team's 75-62 victory over the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets. Bertrand came off the bench to score 15 points, including 10 straight in the second half to give the Illini the boost they needed for the win.
The explosion may have been unexpected for those unfamiliar with the team, but not head coach John Groce:
"Joe always competes," Illinois coach John Groce said. "Until you get to know him he comes off as a quiet guy, but he has big time energy. I very rarely watch practice or game film and say Bertrand’s not competing. Tonight he competed."
Bertrand has yet to start a game this season, but has become one of the first players off the bench. He's scored in double figures in three of Illinois' past four games, and has become one of the more important players on the roster. Bertrand, though, was quiet about his growth, and credited the work he and his teammates put in over the offseason:
"That really helped my shooting and skill development…really helped my confidence," Bertrand said. "I’m looking to shoot a lot more threes this year. I was driving a lot last year and I’m doing both this year."
The Illini next play on Dec. 4, when they take on the Western Carolina Catamounts at Assembly Hall. Tipoff is scheduled for 7 p.m. CT.