Having lost four straight games, there was little doubt that Illinois had to leave Lincoln, Nebraska with a victory in order to have a chance to earn an at-large bid for the NCAA Tournament. In the opening 20 minutes against the Cornhuskers, Illinois didn't play like a team fighting for a spot in the postseason, as it trails 33-26 at the half.
D. J. Richardson and Meyers Leonard proved to be the two primary scoring options for Illinois. Richardson led the way with seven points on 3/6 shooting from the field. Leonard connected on all three of his shot attempts in the opening half and also pulled down a team-high four rebounds. Illinois was very efficient offensively, shooting 52.4% from the field as a team.
The Illini struggled to slow down Bo Spencer from the perimeter. The Nebraska guard connected on 3/4 attempts from behind the arc to lead the Huskers with nine points. The Huskers only turned the ball over five times and shot 57.7% from the field in a very impressive opening half.
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