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Grades are in: Guerrier's turn to lead balanced Illinois

Jan. 21—Player of the game

Illinois forward Quincy Guerrier

Guerrier took a shortcut to another double-double Sunday against Rutgers. The veteran forward finished with 15 points and 11 rebounds — his seventh double-double of the season and fifth in his last seven games. A pair of tip dunks helped boost both sides of Guerrier's double-double effort, as he spearheaded Illinois turning 13 offensive rebounds into 16 second-chance points. A clear advantage for the Illini in their blowout win against the Scarlet Knights that Guerrier bolstered with five of his game-high 11 rebounds coming on the offensive end.

Backcourt

Illinois: A

Rutgers: D

Justin Harmon, Terrence Shannon Jr. and Marcus Domask all finished with double-digit points in Sunday's blowout win, but their contributions extended well beyond simply putting up points. Harmon came within a single rebound of matching his career high, Domask led the team with five assists and Shannon made an impact as a facilitator before he got going as a scorer.

Frontcourt

Illinois: A

Rutgers: A

Another double-double from Guerrier. Another stat sheet-stuffing performance from Coleman Hawkins (save for a rough afternoon shooting). It's hard for Illinois not to have the upper hand when its frontcourt duo plays at that level. It was the only area, though, where Rutgers had an answer thanks to 22 points and nine rebounds from senior center Clifford Omoruyi.

Bench

Illinois: A

Rutgers: C

Bringing Shannon off the bench is basically a cheat code for winning the "bench points" battle. Illinois' leading scorer didn't reach his season average, but a strong finish still got the veteran guard 16 points. Couple that with 18 points from Harmon, and the Illini bench had exactly the kind of production Brad Underwood wants on an every-game basis.

Overall

Illinois: A

Rutgers: C

The strides Illinois made offensively with Shannon sidelined had December roots ... when the veteran guard was still on the court before his arrest and suspension. Think the shootout with Florida Atlantic or having with Tennessee on the road or crushing out Missouri in Braggin' Rights. Sunday's win against Rutgers was simply more of that, with Shannon's return not upsetting the balance created in his absence.