Coleman Hawkins leads No. 16 Illinois in rout of Syracuse

Coleman Hawkins leads No. 16 Illinois in rout of Syracuse

Coleman Hawkins registered the fifth triple-double in school history as No. 16 Illinois posted a comfortable 73-44 win over Syracuse on Tuesday in an ACC/Big Ten Challenge contest in Champaign, Ill.

Hawkins finished with 15 points, 10 rebounds and 10 assists, joining Mark Smith (1978), Sergio McClain (2001) and Ayo Dosunmu (two in 2021) as Illinois players to record a triple-double.

The Fighting Illini (6-1) improved to 5-0 at home despite shooting 35.8 percent from the field, including 28.2 percent from 3-point range. Skyy Clark was 0 of 10 from the floor and 0 of 7 from long range, while Terrence Shannon Jr. went 5 of 17 from the field en route to a team-high 17 points.

The Orange (3-4) authored some ugly shooting percentages of their own, knocking down just 27.8 percent of their shots overall and 5 of 17 from long range. Poor free-throw shooting (9 of 17) and committing 17 turnovers didn’t help, either.

Jesse Edwards had nine points, 17 rebounds, three assists, three blocks and two steals for Syracuse, which has dropped three straight games. Joe Girard (0 for 3) went scoreless in 20 minutes, while Judah Mintz shot 3 of 16 in a nine-point effort.

The Illini led 30-23 at intermission behind nine points from Shannon and eight from Jayden Epps.

Syracuse held an 18-17 lead with about eight minutes to play in the first period before Illinois closed the session on a 13-5 run, holding the visitors to three points in the final seven minutes of the half.

Shannon hit back-to-back 3-pointers to begin the key stretch and hit another later in the burst. Matthew Mayer’s layup in the closing seconds gave the hosts a seven-point edge as the teams went into the locker room.

The Orange got as close as 32-28 in the second half before the Illini scored nine of the next 11 points on 3-pointers by Shannon, RJ Melendez and Hawkins to extend their lead to double figures.

Illinois essentially iced the game with a late 12-0 run that turned an 11-point lead into a commanding 60-37 advantage. Melendez contributed a 3-pointer and a three-point play during the key push before Ty Rodgers’ jumper pushed the margin above 20 for the first time.

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