CHAMPAIGN (WCIA) — Illinois basketball has not been afraid to pull the trigger from beyond the arc this season. The Illini are currently second in the Big Ten averaging 25.4 attempts per game from deep, 33rd nationally out of 352 Division I teams.
The Illini (16-7, 7-5 B1G) have hoisted as many as 39 triples in a game this season, making 11 of them in a win over Syracuse in November, but overall the 3-point make percentage for Illinois sits at just 31.7%. That ranks 10th in the league and 295th nationally.
“We’ve taken some hard 3s,” Underwood said. “We’ve taken shots that have been contested instead of just making the one extra pass and going from a good one to a great one. We’re a good shooting team and no one likes 3s more than me but I like them out of flow and ones guys shoot in practice. I’m never telling guys not to shoot them.”
Matthew Mayer has taken his share of tough 3s but the senior transfer from Baylor is also leading the team in 3-point percentage at 38.1%. Mayer has made a team high 48 triples, accounting for a fourth of all 3s made for the Illini this season.
At the current rate, Illinois is averaging the highest amount of 3-pointers per game in program history, dating back to the 1986-87 season when the line was introduced in college basketball. The Illini return to the court Saturday hosting Rutgers at 1 p.m. at State Farm Center.