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Quick hits | No. 14 Illinois 86, Rutgers 63

Jan. 21—What happened

Illinois shot just 59 percent from the free throw line. Made 6 of 27 three-pointers. And still put up 86 points in Sunday's blowout home win against Rutgers. It was a complete reversal from a week prior when the Illini seemingly missed every easy look they had against Maryland. Turning defensive stops into 24 of 27 shooting on dunks and layups helped Illinois cruise against the Scarlet Knights.

What it means

How Illinois played in Terrence Shannon Jr.'s absence can't be ignored. Neither can the difference the veteran guard, who was considered a likely All-American before his suspension, can make. What the Illini did to Rutgers on Sunday afternoon at State Farm Center was reminiscent of their last game with him. This version of Illinois basketball is the same that put together a Braggin' Rights blowout.

What's next

The conference grind continues, with what's the typical quick turnaround between games. Illinois (14-4, 5-2 Big Ten) will be back in action at 8 p.m. Wednesday at Northwestern (13-5, 4-3). The Illini beat the Wildcats by 30 earlier this month without Shannon. Playing at Welsh-Ryan Arena will be different — Northwestern did beat Purdue at home — but Illinois should be the favorites for a "road kill."

What was said

"We just didn't want to drop another one at home. Coach was getting on us saying we just had to play together and just have fun with each other basically. We prepared way better than we did against Maryland. The past two days we've been going real hard in practice. ... We just couldn't afford to drop another one at home. Protect home." — Illinois guard Justin Harmon on pulling away in the second half