Preview: Longwood at Illinois

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[December 13, 2017]  Illinois looks to bounce back from a disappointing two-week stretch when it hosts Longwood on Wednesday. The Fighting Illini have dropped three of their first four games in the month of December, including an 89-82 loss to UNLV on Saturday when they matched a school record with 36 fouls, and hope to turn their fortunes around in their first-ever meeting with the Lancers.

"I'm thoroughly frustrated with the fouls," Illinois coach Brad Underwood told reporters. "I'll take the fight that our guys had but we have to play a little smarter." Illinois has surrendered an average of more than 90 points in its last two losses and hopes to put the defensive clamps on Longwood, which has been held to 60 or fewer points in three games this season. The Fighting Illini have won 10 consecutive non-conference home games with their lone loss coming to Big South Conference foe Winthrop (84-80) last season. Longwood, which was picked to finish ninth in the Big South preseason poll, saw its three-game winning streak come to an end with an 81-70 loss to Virginia Military Institute and aim to get back into the win column by notching a non-conference road victory for the first time since Nov. 28, 2015.

TV: 8 p.m. ET, Big Ten Network

ABOUT LONGWOOD (3-6): B.K. Ashe led the Lancers with 21 points and Isaiah Walton added 19 before fouling out in the loss to VMI. Charles Glover, who leads the team in 3-point shooting (50 percent), went down with a lower-body injury in the second half and is questionable for Wednesday. "We really lost some momentum when Chuck went out and Isaiah got into foul trouble," Longwood coach Jayson Gee told reporters. "We're not good enough at the guard position to lose players of their caliber down the stretch and still come out on top."

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ABOUT ILLINOIS (7-4): Mark Smith went 4-of-5 from 3-point range en route to a team-high 17 points before fouling out and Trent Frazier scored 12 of his career-best 16 points in the first half against UNLV. Leron Black, who leads Illinois in scoring with 13.6 points per game, played 12 minutes before suffering an elbow injury and his status for Wednesday's clash is unknown. "We're at the mercy of our doctors in terms of going through the x-rays and MRIs," Underwood told reporters. "He's having both of those procedures done and we'll wait to see what comes of them."

TIP-INS

1. The Fighting Illini are ranked 349th nationally in fouls per game (24).

2. Illinois G Aaron Jordan has made 20 of his last 28 attempts from 3-point range.

3. Longwood has dropped 12 straight non-conference road games.

PREDICTION: Illinois 88, Longwood 65

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