WCIA — It looked as though Illinois might be imploding during the second half when it saw a double digit lead evaporate on a 15-2 Wisconsin run yesterday. But the Illini showed poise when back up against the wall, going on their own 19-2 run to lock down a sixth straight win over the Badgers.

That in and of itself is quite the feat considering the Kohl Center used to be a place of nightmares up until recently for the Illini. Freshman Jayden Epps stepped up big time with his second consecutive start at point guard. Epps dialed up 13 points and only a single turnover while leading the Illini offense.

“I would say my teammates, and veterans, and my coaches help me out a lot,” Epps said. “They just keep me saying, ‘Stay calm, stay poised’ and I just try to lead the team as much as I can. I’m working on that part of my game. Leading the team and trying to be that vocal leader, just keep everybody calm on top like that when teams go on runs.”

“Jayden Epps was spectacular,” Underwood said. “That young mans not playing like a freshman. He just keeps leading us, and finds a way to make a basket and crease the paint and spray it.”

Illinois now looks ahead to a date with Nebraska to start the second half of conference play on Tuesday, Jan. 31 at 6 p.m.