MINNEAPOLIS, Minn. (WCIA) — Illinois basketball has won four straight games, going from the bottom of the Big Ten after starting league play 0-3, to above .500 in the conference for the first time this season, and Matthew Mayer is a big reason why.
The Baylor transfer is playing some of the most consistent basketball of his college career posting double-digit scoring in five-straight games, including 17 in three of his last five. Mayer’s 19-point, 10 rebound performance at Minnesota on Monday night was his first collegiate double-double. After starting the season scoring just 45 points through the first eight games, Mayer has shined in the new year, scoring 75 points in the last five outings in 2023.
“I have a really strong faith, I knew that at some point it was going to turn around but the reason it’s turned around is because I’ve been working with Fletch,” Mayer said about Illinois strength and conditioning coach Adam Fletcher. “I’ve had a lot of stuff wrong with my body and I’m finally getting it right so I’ve never felt better in my career with my body and I’m excited that we’re winning and I’m playing well.”
Mayer noted earlier this season he started fasting before games to help his body. He also had several tests that revealed allergies to milk, eggs, and wheat, things he used to eat every day. His body has adjusted well to the new diet, allowing the fifth-year senior to thrive on the court.
“Matt’s very talented,” Illinois head coach Brad Underwood said. “It’s not something he hasn’t been able to do it’s just his ability to want to work and buy in. We kind of laugh at him that he’s got a six pack now. Again, he’s in great shape.”
Illinois returns to the court Thursday night hosting Indiana at 7:30 p.m.