Illinois duo of Hill, Nunn combine for 52 points to help upset No. 20 Purdue
CHAMPAIGN – On Thursday he had a good reason to miss the Illini’s third forgettable night in Big Ten play.
Kendrick Nunn was not in East Lansing where his Illinois team was getting beaten badly by Michigan State but rather back in Champaign where he was watching the birth of his son Kason right around tipoff time. It was a moment of celebration personally even if was deflation for his teammates five hours to the north.
But on Sunday Nunn helped to bring his personal excitement to the court-and he had a lot of help from a teammate, too.
The senior guard scored 22 points but was topped by his teammate Malcolm Hill who had 30 against No. 20 Purdue at the State Farm Center. The pair’s offensive exploits helped the Illini pull off the upset of the Boilermakers 84-70 for the team’s first Big Ten victory.
Hill knocked down 9-of-15 shots from the field and hit ten free throws as part of his complete effort which included leading the team in rebounds (8), assists (3) and blocks (2). Nunn was 8-of-12 from the field along with five rebounds in his first game on the floor since the birth of his son.
Both players were strong in the second half when the Illini pulled away from the Boilermakers who came into the game with a 14-2 record. Nunn scored the first eight points of the half for either team and Hill added a three pointer as part of an 11-1 run to open the half for Illinois. For the half the Illini outscored Purdue 47-33.
He would finish the half with 17 points while Nunn had 18 points to improve Illinois’ record to 9-8 on the season and give the Illini their biggest reason to celebrate so far this season.