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Dain Dainja, No. 23 Illinois overpower Kansas City

Nov 11, 2022; Champaign, Illinois, USA;  Illinois Fighting Illini forward Coleman Hawkins (33) drives to the basket during the first half against the UMKC Kangaroos at State Farm Center. Mandatory Credit: Ron Johnson-USA TODAY Sports
Credit: Ron Johnson-USA TODAY Sports

Dain Dainja amassed 20 points, 15 rebounds and five blocked shots to lift No. 23 Illinois past Kansas City 86-48 on Friday in Champaign, Ill.

It was the second consecutive double-double for Dainja to open the season.

Terrence Shannon Jr. added 14 points and Jayden Epps contributed 13 for the Illini (2-0). Skyy Clark also chipped in with 10.

Shemarri Allen led the Roos (0-3) with 20 points and grabbed eight rebounds. He was Kansas City’s lone player to reach double figures.

The Roos’ RayQuawndis Mitchell had only five points on 1-of-14 shooting, including 0-for-7 on 3-pointers.

Kansas City shot just 3-for-21 from 3-point range.

Illinois missed 17 of its first 18 shots but trailed only 9-8 with 11:42 remaining in the first half.

The Illini slowly built its advantage before going up 22-13 with 8:11 left when Epps dropped in consecutive 3-pointers.

Illinois continued with its suffocating defense, and Clark made two free throws with 6:47 left for a 26-13 edge.

Allen responded with a three-point play to close Kansas City within 10.

Epps drove to the basket and scored for a 35-20 lead with 3:59 to go.

Illinois was up 39-23 at halftime despite shooting 12 of 34. Dainja pulled down 12 rebounds in the opening 20 minutes.

Allen paced the Roos with 10 first-half points on 4-of-9 shooting.

The Illini went ahead 47-27 when Shannon hit a 3-pointer with 16:52 remaining in the second half.

Allen drove to the basket and threw down a dunk with 13:32 left, but Kansas City still trailed 52-34.

Dainja continued to dominate in the low post with a layup for a 58-34 advantage with 12:03 to go.

Kansas City freshman Emmanouil Dimou hit his first career basket, a trey with 8:07 left, to close the gap to 65-42.

Illinois proceeded on a 10-2 run for a commanding 75-44 advantage. The Illini cruised the rest of the way to a victory.

–Field Level Media