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Notre Dame 60, Illinois 49 — 7:48 left in 2nd half

This one’s getting away from the Illini.

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Notre Dame 51, Illinois 47 — 11:42 left in 2nd half

Aaron Jordan hasn’t gone completely quiet in the second half (he hit a three). Giorgi Bezhanishvili is showing why his value is so high when he’s on the court. No foul trouble for the freshman big man has helped him put up a 15-point game so far. For a team that needs some sort of offensive consistency, going to Bezhanishvili in the paint has been a solid option.

But Notre Dame is again getting to the bucket with ease. And if the Irish aren’t finishing there, they’re getting to the free throw line. That’s how this game can get away from the Illini.

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Illinois 35, Notre Dame 34 — Halftime

Some first half thoughts …

— Aaron Jordan is knocking down threes and attacking the basket aggressively and leads the Illini with 10 points. What he does in the second half will be important (his second half play hasn’t been as good as his first).

— Giorgi Bezhanishvili on the court is a good thing for Illinois. He has nine points and has a plus/minus of plus-13.

— Ayo Dosunmu is following up his nine-rebound performance against MVSU with four boards so far tonight.

— Andres Feliz has a game-high four assists.

— After giving up a bunch of easy looks early in the half, Illinois limited them to close things out. Notre Dame is shooting just 37 percent from the field (and 23 percent from three-point range).

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Illinois 22, Notre Dame 20 — 7:34 left in 1st half

Illinois had a good thing going (kind of) about 4 minutes ago. Trent Frazier got back on the court after appearing to tweak his ankle and immediately scored and drew the foul for the and-1 opportunity. Then Adonis De La Rosa committed a lane violation, and the Illini didn’t score again until 25 seconds ago on a bucket by Andres Feliz.

Notre Dame struggling to finish perhaps even worse meant the Illini were able to hold on to this slim lead.

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Illinois 9, Notre Dame 8 — 15:10 left in 1st half

Illinois has the lead after a three-pointer by Aaron Jordan and Andres Feliz turning a Notre Dame turnover into a fast break layup (great Euro step for the score). But how Notre Dame has scored its eight points is, again, kind of concerning.

The Irish have made three layups, and then the other two points came at the free throw line after Prentiss Hubb was fouled on a layup. The Illinois defense is still having issues guarding the ball one-on-one and, you know, not letting the other team get ridiculously high percentage shots over and over.

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Illinois at Notre Dame — 6 p.m., ESPNU

Alan Griffin might not be starting tonight for the Illini, but he’s one of the guys that will get even more run with Tevian Jones suspended. Illinois coach Brad Underwood likes what the freshman guard has done so far … except for the behind-the-back pass/turnover he had late in the Mississippi Valley State game. Underwood called a timeout just to express his displeasure about that.

Anway, more good than bad from Griffin.

“Alan’s starting to really play well,” Underwood said. “I’ve been really pleased with his play other than his turnovers. He’s a gifted, gifted offensive player. Man, he can really get it going. Every time it leaves his hand, I think it’s going in.

“I think he’s starting to get acclimated a bit defensively. He’s a tough kid. He goes and chases balls. He’s instinctive. His role will continue to increase. I’m excited about his development.”

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Illinois at Notre Dame — 6 p.m., ESPNU

New starting lineup for the Illini tonight.

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Illinois at Notre Dame — 6 p.m., ESPNU

Illinois and Iowa State fans can battle it out for who was better represented at the Maui Invitational. Both fan bases showed out, though. So even 4,000 miles away, the Illini were in a fairly pro-Illinois environment.

That won’t necessarily be the case tonight in South Bend (although I’m seeing a good amount of orange in the seats already). Still, freshman guard Ayo Dosunmu was pumped about his first true road game.

“I’m excited,” he said Monday morning after practice. “I feel like this a great opportunity to make up for the games that we didn’t win in Maui. We’ve got Notre Dame. They’re a great team in the ACC and we’re on the road, so this is a great test to show our toughness and show what we can do. It’s about being tough. We’re not going to be the only ones tired. This is mental. This is a win that we need. Just come out and try to produce.”

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Illinois at Notre Dame — 6 p.m., ESPNU

No Tevian Jones tonight will at least alter Illinois’ rotation. The 6-foot-7 freshman guard hadn’t played a big role — yet — but his absence will mean the minutes he did play will be split among guys like Aaron Jordan, Alan Griffin, Da’Monte Williams and Kipper Nichols somehow.

Just another challenge for the Illini against Notre Dame.

“They’re a little unusual from the standpoint that their bigs are elite shooters,” Illinois coach Brad Underwood said. “John Mooney’s a terrific shooter. D.J. Harvey is kind of an undersized 4 at 6-5/6-6. He’s so good off the bounce and shoots it from three. Then you get a couple guys in T.J. Gibbs and Prentiss Hubb who are good penetrators and do a lot setting those guys up.

“A team that’s very, very good offensively. A team that’s very, very good on the offensive glass. They win with very, very efficient offense, and we’re going to have to be very good defensively.”

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Illinois at Notre Dame — 6 p.m., ESPNU

Illinois guard Tevian Jones is not dressed for tonight’s game. The Illini freshman, per a release from the team, has been “suspended indefinitely from game competition due to a violation of team rules.”

Jones has appeared in all six games so far this season, although he played just a single minute against Gonzaga in the Maui Invitational. He’s averaging 3.2 points and 1.7 rebounds in 9 minutes per game.

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Illinois at Notre Dame — 6 p.m., ESPNU

We have some special coverage from tonight’s game. Be sure to follow “news-gazette” on Snapchat for a behind the scenes look at a different part of the gameday experience.

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Greetings from snowy — and cold — South Bend for the first LIVE! Report on the road for the Illinois men’s basketball season. The Illini are an hour from tipoff against Notre Dame in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge. Despite facing a young Fighting Irish team (that did lose to Radford at home), Illinois is in for a challenge.

It’s not an uncommon challenge, though, when it comes to this season. The Illini (2-4) have played four high major opponents in their first six games of the season. They’ll add another in nonconference play in the Braggin’ Rights game against Missouri, but even beyond that their schedule in the first two months of the season is pretty remarkable.

A major complaint during the John Groce era was the number of games against teams that — let’s just be honest — nobody cared about. This year? Georgetown came to State Farm Center. Then there was the Maui Invitational. And tonight’s game. Don’t forget about UNLV early next month. It might not be the Larry Johnson Runnin’ Rebels, but UNLV is still a “name” team.

It wouldn’t hurt, of course, for Illinois to start winning those games. The Illini’s first four cracks against high major competition this season are all losses. Maybe not unexpected (at least for the three Maui games) but, still, playing a good schedule is only half the battle. Fans want to see wins, too.

Maybe Illinois gets one tonight in South Bend. Again, the Irish lost to Radford at home earlier this year, and their wins haven’t exactly come against top notch opponents. If ever there was a time to get a signature(ish) road win early in the season for a young team, this would be that time.

While you’re waiting for tipoff, catch up on all our Illini basketball coverage from the past couple days …

Starters, stats, storylines and our beat writer’s prediction

Fixing defensive details an important step for Illini

Notre Dame the next stop on Illinois’ wild ride

Jet-lagged Illini grind out win against MVSU

Samba Kane puts up ‘big time’ performance in debut



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