Career night for Kipper as Illinois embodies "Fighting Illini" name
Illinois loss to Michigan State last night dropped the team to 0-8 in Big Ten play, tying the worst conference start in program history.
While the final result wasn't a win, Head Coach Brad Underwood was proud of the effort he saw from his team, particularly sophomore Kipper Nichols, truly embodying the name on the front of the jersey.
“The name ‘Fighting Illini’, that was us tonight.” said Underwood.
The Illini gave the Spartans everything they could handle for much of the night. Forcing 25 turnovers and imposing an effort that impressed Michigan State head coach Tom Izzo.
“If a teams playing that hard it reminded me of when we started i think thats going to bode well for him in rejuvenating that program.” said Izzo.
Having a rejuvenation of his own on the court was sophomore Kipper Nichols, who knocked down 5 three pointers and a career high 27 points in 22 minutes. tThe challenge now becomes channeling that performance into a more consistent occurrence
“I challenge him every single day,” said Underwood. “And I do that because I love him and I know what he’s capable of. I know that’s what he can give this team. He can get us to another level.”
“We take pride in everyday guys,” said Kipper Nichols. “It didn’t matter if it was Michigan State tonight or whoever. We've gotta come out and fight and that’s what he’s brought to this culture and that’s what we're trying to be about.”