WCIA — Illinois basketball took the long layoff with the holidays to come out looking completely refreshed against Bethune-Cookman on Thursday night, and some of the new energy may have been from a new looking starting lineup.

Dain Dainja made his first start of his college career and led the Illini in points in the 85-52 victory, but what was possibly an even bugger impact was Sencire Harris getting the start as well. Fellow freshman Skyy Clark was out with a shoulder injury picked up in practice.

“I thought Sencire was excellent,” Brad Underwood said. “Sencire provides a different energy and is as good a freshman defender as I have ever coached. Takes so much pride in it, I thought he was great.”

“I’m not really phased by it, I helped my team with the win obviously with the defense side bringing more energy for the first,” Harris said. “My team needed me and I stepped up for them.”

It will be almost a week off now for the Illini. Nonconference play is in the books and the Big Ten schedule gets restarted in Evanston. The Cats are 1-0 in the league with a win in East Lansing to begin the month. Game time is 8 p.m. on Wednesday, Jan. 4.