CHAMPAIGN, Ill. (WCIA) — The Illini will add another body to the bench with guard Tevian Jones back from suspension for their game against Maryland on Saturday.
Jones was suspended on October 26th for a violations of the team’s academic policy. He has missed the first eight games of the season. The sophomore was also suspended for eight games last season for a violation of team rules, he averaged 3.5 points per game in the 24 games he did play.
Jones adds a scorer off the bench that the Illini desperately need. Their bench is averaging less than 20 points per game, with Alan Griffin leading the way at 8.4. The Illini are trying to find a way to mitigate the slow start against Miami that lead to a 27-point Hurricanes lead.
“We’ve kind of opened things back up and kind of re-evaluating a lot of things and done a lot of soul searching and lot of communicating and talking,” head coach Brad Underwood said. “This group is a proud group, we came from 27 down and had a chance to win it, so that will tell you their pride. You know they were embarrassed and so we’ll be fine.”
Fittingly enough, the Illini play Maryland on Saturday, the same team that Jones lit up last season for a career high 18 points in Madison Square Garden. The Terps came in ranked #13 in the country, but the Illini went on to win the game by eleven. Illinois is fully aware of the stakes this time around.
“I’m pretty sure their coach had this game marked on the calendar the whole year so we gotta come out prepared,” Ayo Dosunmu said. “We can’t come out like we did against Miami, we gotta come out prepared knowing that this team wants to dismantle us.”
“Not a lot of love between us because of last year and what happened in a game,” Giorgi Bezhanishvili said. “They were up and we won that game and we were not playing well that season so they probably got a lot of hate for us but we don’t like them either.”
Illinois and Maryland tip off at 4:00 Saturday afternoon in College Park.