Kipper Nichols confident in bench production, role with Illini


Illinois coach Brad Underwood looking for consistency from his senior forward

CHAMPAIGN (WCIA) — Illinois forward Kipper Nichols has shown flashes of what he can do. The senior scored a career high 31 points at Madison Square Garden against Iowa in the Big Ten tournament two seasons ago. He’s also been non-existent on the court at times, going scoreless in a five game stretch last season in 52 minutes on the court.

Through the first four games this season, Nichols has found his role coming off the bench, averaging 15 minutes per game. The Cleveland native had a strong showing against Hawaii on Monday, scoring nine points and grabbing two rebounds. Head coach Brad Underwood shortened his bench, relying primarily on Nichols and Alan Griffin to replace the starters.

“We know Kipper can score the basketball and he’s an excellent passer and we need that consistently and I think we’ll get that,” Underwood said. “He’s had a really, really good week of practice.”

“We have the utmost belief in all the way down the bench so I believe everybody is ready when their name is called and it’s up to the coaches night in and night out,” Nichols said.

Illinois hosts The Citadel Wednesday night at 8 p.m. The Bulldogs are playing their second game in the last 24 hours, after getting their first win of the season at SEMO on Tuesday night. This is the second game of a four game, nine day home stretch for Illinois.

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