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Illinois Basketball: True Freshmen Stabilize The Ship Against EIU



Illinois Basketball: True Freshmen Stabilize The Ship Against EIU
Nov 6, 2023; Champaign, Illinois, USA; Illinois Fighting Illini guard Dra Gibbs-Lawhorn (2) reaches for a loose ball during the first half against the Eastern Illinois Cougars at State Farm Center. Mandatory Credit: Ron Johnson-USA TODAY Sports

Illinois Basketball: True Freshmen Stabilize The Ship Against EIU

Illinois Basketball squeaks through their season opener. After looking locked-in and engaged against Kansas, Illinois Basketball looked a step slow against Eastern Illinois. The first ten minutes were rough to watch. Illinois shot an abysmal percentage from the 3pt line and FT line, and looked like they were sleepwalking. After a few Brad Underwood tirades, two unsung heroes gave Illinois a much-needed bolt. In particular, Dra Gibbs-Lawhorn was absolutely awesome.

Dravyn Gibbs-Lawhorn

The kid is talented. After struggling against Kansas, DGL came in and immediately made an impact. Gibbs-Lawhorn has an explosiveness and athleticism that no one on this roster has. His motor is always revved up to 100 and that is good to see for a youngster. The true freshmen gave Illinois a jolt on both sides of the ball and was huge off the bench. If Gibbs-Lawhorn can consistently provide a punch off the bench, Illinois will only benefit in the latter parts of the season.

Though it has been a tough sled of freshmen guards for Illinois Basketball recently, Gibbs-Lawhorn was a pleasant surprise in a rather lackluster start. Dravyn finished with 18 points on 7-10 shooting.

Amani Hansberry

Amani Hansberry came off the bench and gave Illinois some solid minutes. The Illini struggled on the boards to start the game off. Coleman Hawkins had an off night and Dain Dainja looked a little out of place. Hansberry came in and did what he did best. He rebounded well to end the first half and helped stabilize a struggling frontcourt. Amani finished with a team-high, 8 rebounds.

Luke Goode also had a solid game. The junior guard put up 9 points on 3 3-point shots and also added 6 rebounds. Illinois will now host the Oakland Bears on Friday night. Oakland took Ohio State to the wire tonight and should provide Illinois with a robust challenge.

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Alex is the Owner of, your go-to source for in depth coverage of the Illinois Fighting Illini. Alex is also the lead content creator and lead editor of all articles on Armchair Illini. He has had articles featured in top media publications like Bleacher Report, YardBarker, Verbal Commits, CBS Sports and more.