Shannon scores 30 as No. 19 Illinois routs Monmouth 103-65
CHAMPAIGN -- Terrence Shannon Jr. had a career-high 30 points and 8 rebounds to lead No. 19 Illinois to a 103-65 win over Monmouth on Monday night.
Freshman guard Jayden Epps scored a season-high 21 points and Dain Dainja finished with 15 points on 7-for-9 shooting for the Illini (3-0).
Andrew Ball scored 13 points to lead Monmouth (0-3), and Jack Collins added 12.
Illinois made its first 5 shots -- four of them 3s -- and hit 9 of its first 12 shots to sprint out to a 24-9 lead. It was a sharp contrast from a 1-for-18 start from the field in a win over Kansas City last Friday.
Illinois led 8-0 just 44 seconds in thanks to a 3 by Shannon, a steal and layup from RJ Melendez and a 3 from Skyy Clark. Clark pushed the Illini lead to double digits with a decisive crossover in transition and a layup, part of a 31-5 run that included four buckets from Shannon and four from Dainja.
Illinois led 63-33 at halftime after shooting 76.7% in the first half.
The Illini sharpshooters cooled off a bit in the second half, finishing the game at 59.7%. It hardly mattered in part due to converting 24 Hawks turnovers into 30 points.
For Illinois, limiting turnovers will be key in challenging games in Las Vegas against No. 8 UCLA and either No. 5 Baylor or No. 16 Virginia. The Hawks looked helpless Monday before crawling into the game by scoring 7 points off 4 turnovers.