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Grades are in: Shannon shines in blowout win

Feb. 13—PLAYER OF THE GAME

Illinois guard Terrence Shannon Jr.

Shannon's end-of-the-first-half takeover carried into the second half of Tuesday's blowout win against Michigan. Shannon got hot from three-point range — truly for the first time since he returned from suspension — and the Wolverines had exactly zero ability to slow him down. Shannon ultimately wound up two points shy of the career high he set in early December in Illinois' win against Florida Atlantic at Madison Square Garden. But only because he went to the bench with the game well in hand with 91/2 minutes to play in what turned into a 97-68 victory. Still, 31 points on 11-of-15 shooting was impressive.

BACKCOURT

Illinois: A+

Michigan: F

Shannon obviously influences this evaluation, but Illinois still got 13 points from Marcus Domask. Michigan, on the other hand, remains a mess. With or without leading scorer Dug McDaniel ... but definitely without. The Wolverines' average margin of defeat in the road games McDaniel has been forced to miss serving the oddest suspension in college hoops now stands at 21 points.

FRONTCOURT

Illinois: A+

Michigan: B

Coleman Hawkins continues to solidify his case for All-Big Ten honors come the end of the season and what might be a place on NBA draft boards. The 6-foot-10 Illinois forward stuffed another stat sheet Tuesday night — 17 points, five assists, five rebounds and two blocks — while Quincy Guerrier got closer to the double-double he was almost averaging a month ago.

BENCH

Illinois: B

Michigan: C

Tuesday marked the most run the Illinois bench has gotten in months. Maybe all season. Brad Underwood played his starters sparingly in the final 10 minutes, giving backups other than Justin Harmon, Luke Goode and Dain Dainja a crack at meaningful (at least in amount) minutes. Harmon, Goode and Dainja still wound up with the bulk of the production.

OVERALL

Illinois: A

Michigan: D

Michigan State coach Tom Izzo spent part of his postgame press conference Saturday talking about how there was no bottom in the Big Ten. That the league was competitive from 1-14. Michigan set out Tuesday night to prove Izzo wrong. Because there's definitely a gap between Illinois at No. 2 in the Big Ten standings and the Wolverines at No. 14 — a spot they further solidified in getting beat by 29. It was a win-win for the Illini, though, since they got to flex their offensive muscles and work on shoring up their defense.