CHAMPAIGN, Ill. (AP) Ty Rodgers had 10 points and 15 rebounds to lead No. 11 Illinois to a 104-71 rout of Fairleigh Dickinson on Friday night, the Illini's first game without standout Terrence Shannon Jr.

Shannon, the No. 8 scorer in the nation who is averaging 21.7 points, was suspended by Illinois this week after he was charged with rape for an alleged incident that happened when the Illinois football team played at Lawrence, Kansas, in September.

Illinois coach Brad Underwood said he met with his team Thursday to talk about Shannon's suspension. The coach would not disclose what was said at the meeting.

“I've been saying all year that this is the most connected team I've ever coached. You saw evidence of that tonight by how they responded,” Underwood said.

“This is a serious, troubling allegation against Terrance. I'm so thankful to work for a university with integrity, and has a detailed policy in place to deal with an issue like this, respecting all the parties involved.”

Dain Dainja scored 19 points, Coleman Hawkins and Justin Harmon each had 18, Quincy Guerrier added 14 and Marcus Domask 11 along with 11 assists for the Illini (10-2). Harmon made a career-high four 3-pointers.

“I've been waiting all year to get production like that off our bench,” Underwood said. “Dain changed the game with his work around the rim. And I'm so happy for Justin. He works so hard.”

Fairleigh Dickinson (6-8) trailed the entire game and fell behind by as many as 40 points. Ansley Almonor led the Knights with 20 points. DeVante Jamison had 11 and Sean Moore 10.

Illinois, which leads the nation in rebounds per game at 45.6, outrebounded Fairleigh Dickinson 54-27. Guerrier had 11 rebounds in his third double-double of the season. The Illini have outrebounded 10 of their 12 opponents.

Fueled by a 14-0 run late in the first half that featured three 3-pointers by Harmon, the Illini led 48-28 at halftime.


Fairleigh Dickinson: Already a massive underdog against a talented, deep, veteran Illinois team, the Knights also had to deal with an emotionally charged Illini squad that suddenly lost its best player to a suspension two days before the game.

Illinois: Playing their first game minus Shannon, the Illini looked ragged at the start, but their balanced scoring and rebounding were more than enough to turn back a feisty mid-major opponent.


Underwood said it will be interesting to see how Big Ten opponents respond to the loss of Shannon.

“I'm sure he was at the top of all their scouting reports,” he said.


With the win over Fairleigh Dickinson, Illinois concluded a stretch of five straight non-conference games against teams that played in the 2023 NCAA Tournament. The Illini went 4-1 in the five games, losing only to then-No. 4 Marquette, its lone home loss of the season.


The last time Fairleigh Dickinson faced a Big Ten team, it made history. The Knights shocked Purdue and eventual AP National Player of the Year Zach Edey 63-58 in the first round of the 2023 NCAA Tournament, becoming only the second No. 16 seed to knock off a No. 1 seed. FDU was eliminated from the tournament by eventual Final Four participant Florida Atlantic in its next game.


Illinois and Fairleigh Dickinson had met once previously. No. 16 seed FDU faced No. 1 seed Illinois in the 2005 NCAA Tournament, with the Illini winning 67-55.


Fairleigh Dickinson: The Knights will play at Merrimack on Thursday in their Northeast Conference opener.

Illinois: The Illini will take on in-state rival Northwestern at home Tuesday in a Big Ten game.


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