By Gavin Good, Associated Press
CHAMPAIGN — Coleman Hawkins had 15 points, 10 rebounds and 10 assists, and No. 16 Illinois thumped Syracuse 73-44 in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge on Tuesday night.
Neither team shot well, but Illinois (6-1) hit 6 of its 15 3-point attempts in the second half to send the Orange (3-4) home with their third straight loss.
Terrence Shannon Jr. had 17 points on 5-of-17 shooting for the Illini. All of his makes were 3s. RJ Melendez scored 15 points.
Jesse Edwards had nine points and 17 rebounds to lead Syracuse, and Judah Mintz also scored nine.
Hawkins sent a lively crowd into a frenzy by securing his 10th rebound to complete the triple-double with 1:34 to go and Illinois up 68-44.
Syracuse collapsed in the final stretch, missing nine of its last 10 shots and failing to score in the final 3:19.
Benny Williams picked up two quick technical fouls in the final minute to become the second Orange player to get thrown out of a game this week. Mintz was ejected from a one-point loss to Bryant on Saturday.
Illinois shot 35.8% and went 11 of 39 from 3-point range, while holding Syracuse to 27.8% shooting and 5 of 17 from long distance.
Syracuse led early before Shannon hit back-to-back 3s to push Illinois ahead 23-18 during a 9-0 solo scoring run.
Illinois took a 30-23 lead into the half despite a 5-of-24 effort from 3-point range, partly thanks to eight points from Jayden Epps off the bench. Epps finished with 11 points.
Syracuse went scoreless for the last 4:55 of the first half after a dunk by Mounir Hima pulled the Orange within three points.
Syracuse: Jim Boeheim’s team looks set to take some licks this season after arriving in Champaign off an overtime loss to St. John’s and a home defeat to Bryant. Still, there is plenty of time for the Orange’s young core — they start three underclassmen — to improve before Atlantic Coast Conference play begins in earnest.
Illinois: Tuesday wasn’t the Illini’s sharpest performance. But do-it-all playmakers Hawkins and Shannon give this team a strong floor, while talents like Melendez, Epps and Skyy Clark should have Brad Underwood’s team in line to compete near the top of the Big Ten.
Syracuse: Visits Notre Dame on Saturday to open ACC play.
Illinois: Begins Big Ten play on Friday at No. 22 Maryland.