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Jan 3, 2019 12:10 AM


No. 22 Indiana returns to game action after an 11-day break on Thursday when it plays host to struggling Illinois. The Hoosiers went 6-0 in December to move into the national rankings and the Fighting Illini closed out a dismal final month of 2018 by losing four of six games.

Both teams resume Big Ten action after each played two conference games in early December followed by the completion of their non-conference schedule. Indiana is on a roll and should be in good position to boost its Big Ten record to 3-0 against Illinois, which finished its pre-conference slate with a 73-71 overtime loss at home to Florida Atlantic on Dec. 29. Freshman Romeo Langford and senior Juwan Morgan give Indiana a dynamic 1-2 punch. Langford is the Hoosiers' leading scorer (17.5 per game) and second leading rebounder (5.7), while Morgan leads the team in rebounding (7.6) and is second in scoring (16.2).

TV: 7 p.m. ET, Fox Sports 1

ABOUT INDIANA (11-2, 2-0 Big Ten): During the first two months of the season, the Hoosiers established themselves as the top shooting team in the Big Ten and they rank second nationally in field goal percentage (52.9) despite playing through some injuries. Leading the way are Morgan at 69.3 percent, Justin Smith (55.6) and Langford (50.3). Conversely, Indiana has run into trouble making free throws, shooting just 63.5 percent from the line - 13th out of 14 teams in the Big Ten.

ABOUT ILLINOIS (4-9, 0-2): A December not to remember was made even worse with the loss to Florida Atlantic, but the good to come out of that game was the play of five-star recruit Ayo Dosunmu, who scored 21 points and hit a 3-point shot with 3.1 seconds left to send it to overtime. The freshman has scored in double figures seven times this season, but is shooting just 40.5 percent from the field. Trent Frazier, Illinois' leading scorer at 15.9 points, missed two free throws with 28.8 seconds left in overtime that would have given the Illini a three-point lead against the Owls - who had a 51-38 edge on the boards Saturday.

TIP-INS

1. Morgan joined Steve Downing (versus Michigan in 1971) as the second Indiana player in school history with a triple-double when he finished with 10 points, 10 rebounds and 10 assists in a 94-64 win over Jacksonville on Dec. 22.

2. Indiana ranks fifth nationally in two-point field goal shooting at 60.4 percent.

3. Illinois took 76 shots from the field against Florida Atlantic on Saturday, making just 24, and 19 misses were layups - including 12 in the second half.

PREDICTION: Indiana 82, Illinois 64

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