Northern Kentucky didn’t have an answer for Illinois guard Malcolm Hill on Sunday.
Hill scored a career-high 40 points and recorded 12 rebounds while guiding the Fighting Illini to a 79-64 win. Hill shot 13-for-23 from the field and 5-for-8 beyond the arc while compiling the fifth-most points in a game in Illinois school history.
40 points for Malcolm Hill pic.twitter.com/kqZLULPAKn
— IllinoisLoyalty (@IllinoisLoyalty) November 14, 2016
— Aaron Bennett (@WCIA3Aaron) November 14, 2016
The senior became the first Illinois player to record 40 points and a double-double in a regulation game since Dave Scholz did it in 1968.
Malcolm Hill is the first #Illini to score 40 w/ double-double in a regulation game since 1968 (Dave Scholz 42pt/12reb vs. NW, 2/24/1968).
— Illini Stats & Notes (@IlliniStats) November 14, 2016
Hill entered the 2016 season as the go-to option for the Fighting Illini. He averaged 18.1 points per game last year and appeared on the Naismith Trophy watch list just before the new college basketball season tipped off.
If the first weekend of the season provides a clue, Hill is on pace to have a breakout year. He is averaging 30.5 points and 10 rebounds per game through Illinois’ first two contests.
The Fighting Illini struggled for the most part against Northern Kentucky and didn’t build a comfortable lead until the final minutes of the game. But Hill’s fast start is certainly encouraging.