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Good Morning, Illini Nation: Efficient up close

Jan. 22—Sign up for our daily basketball newsletter here

Welcome to "Good Morning, Illini Nation," your daily dose of college basketball news from Illini beat writer and AP Top 25 voter Scott Richey. He'll offer up insights every morning on Brad Underwood's team and college basketball at large:

Illinois shot 59.3 percent from the free throw line Sunday against Rutgers. It was the Illini's lowest success rate at the line since they shot 50 percent Nov. 24 against Western Illinois. Illinois also shot just 22.2 percent from three-point range Sunday. That stood as the worst mark all season.

And Illinois still put up 86 points and beat the Scarlet Knights by 23. Shooting 72 percent on two-pointers, including 89 percent on dunks and layups, more than made up for the other inefficiencies.

"We had 17 assists," Illinois coach Brad Underwood said. "I think anybody that's a fan of basketball has to enjoy our ball movement. I do. I thought we passed it a little too much sometimes (Sunday). We're sharing the basketball. We've got different guys out there who can shoot it. Different guys out there who can drive it.

"The one thing we can't control is whether that thing goes in. What we can control is if we go get a second shot, another opportunity. You pair that with 'booty ball' and forcing double teams — they doubled us all night — and it's great. We're really content with that. I like this team — their unselfishness and their ability to make plays."