A weak schedule is just what the doctor ordered for the 2009-2010 Illinois Fighting Illini after 5 non-conference losses.
Already 2-0 in the Big Ten after surviving Northwestern and besting Iowa, the Illini must get a road game at Indiana against a struggling Hoosiers’ team that was just pasted by Ohio State.
Sounds easy, right?
Not when you’re bringing a bipolar team to the wrong Assembly Hall.
Where I Was for This Game: Babysitting my cousin’s young children. I didn’t get to see much of this game, though I did have it on a side television in the background as the young tikes watched Transformers, Caillou, or some other kids’ program on the living room television.
What I Remember from This Game:
● Illinois looking like dog doo in the first half, falling behind double digits before coming back late in the second half.
● Demetri McCamey having a big second half during the Illinois comeback.
What Surprised Me/Stood Out Upon A Second Viewing:
● Didn’t remember that Bruce Weber benched McCamey for this game as well, or that Richardson was reinserted into the starting lineup for Brandon Paul. Benching McCamey for Jeff Jordan against Iowa at home may have worked, but doing so in a hostile environment on the road was a bit dangerous in my opinion.
● Didn’t realize how bad Illinois was in the first half, with just five made field goals.
● After scoring 31 points against Northwestern in the Big Ten opener, Illinois center Mike Tisdale had a combined 11 points against Gonzaga and Iowa. Tisdale would respond with 27 points and 9 rebounds in this game.
● Indiana had 7 wins coming into this game, which was one more than the 2008-2009 season. Crean was 13-32 at Indiana heading into this game.
● Entering this game, Indiana was 50-28 all-time against Illinois at the Assembly Hall in Bloomington, Indiana.
● Indiana sophomore and Champaign native Verdell Jones III had scored 20+ points in both games of the young Big Ten Conference season. He would finish with 13 against Illinois.
Let’s do this thing.
Illinois Fighting Illini (10-5, 2-0) vs. Indiana Hoosiers (7-7, 1-1)
For reference’s sake, here is Indiana’s starting lineup:
G Verdell Jones III, G Jordan Hulls, G Jeremiah Rivers, F Christian Watford, F Bobby Capobianco, Head Coach Tom Crean.
Illinois’ revamped starting lineup includes:
G Jeff Jordan, G D.J. Richardson, F Bill Cole, F Mike Davis, C Mike Tisdale.
Commentators: Ari Wolfe and Jim Jackson.
Jackson notes the keys as follows: Illinois must take advantage of the Tisdale/Davis size advantage and get out in transition while Indiana must limit turnovers and defend the pick and roll.
● Jeff Jordan: Lazy inbound pass at 19:36 is nearly stolen. Nice penetration and assist on Richardson three at 19:23. Gets burned by Rivers on the next play, who gets into the lane and draws a foul. Rivers makes one of two free throws to make it 3-1 Illinois. A bit slow on a closeout to Hulls, who hits a three at 17:50 to make it 6-4 Illinois.
Soft post feed to Tisdale is stolen at 10:49.
Good hustle, getting on the floor and forcing a steal at 4:24 that will lead to a Mike Davis dunk. Indiana will take a timeout there as Illinois is on a 4-0 run (which is quite the accomplishment thus far in a brutal first half for the Illini).
Can’t handle a pass from Davis at 1:55, losing the ball out of bounds. Poor spacing by Illinois, and another bad pass from Davis.
Starts the second half on the bench. Comes in at 15:42 for Cole. Great offensive rebound of a missed Davis free throw at 14:56 nearly leads to a Richardson three, which spins in and out. After passing up an open three on the previous possession, misses an open corner shot with 13:19 to go. Davis called for offensive foul on board.
Back in at 8:43 and allows a Dumes three with 8:25 to go to make it a 57-48 IU lead. Was a bit slow on the closeout, though Dumes hit a very difficult shot.
Back in with a little more than 2 minutes to go, gets a huge offensive rebound at 1:44 following a missed three by McCamey.
Overall: 3 rebounds, 2 assists and 1 turnover in 23 minutes. Huge offensive rebound in final two minutes set up the go-ahead basket for Illinois.
● D.J. Richardson: After a missed Rivers’ layup, is a bit carefree with the ball while dribbling up court. Has the ball knocked out of bounds. Good job of sliding his feet and stepping into a made three at 19:23 to give Illinois a 3-0 lead. That was a tough shot, with the defender in his face. 2-for-2 from three as he cans an open look at 18 minutes. Good movement off the ball there, using a screen to create some space for the three as Illinois leads 6-1. Misses a three on the next possession – a good look there but may have been a bit rushed. Don’t want to fall too in love with the three-point line.
Picks up a blocking foul at 8:34 as he is slow to move his feet. Rivers buries a tough fade-away jumper over Richardson (off a curl) to put Indiana up 25-13 with 8 minutes to go. Tough shot there and pretty good defense.
Rushes and misses a quick three at 6:45, leading to a Cole offensive foul. Way too early in the possession. More bad decision making at 6:04, taking a quick, fading jumper in the lane that is badly missed. Poor shot selection – a freshman mistake there.
Starts second half with a couple of positive plays. Drives lane and dishes to Cole, who misses an open layup. Steals a Jones’ pass and pushes the ball on the break, assisting on a McCamey layup at 18:11. After missing a three a possession earlier, does a nice job of running the secondary break and hitting an open three to make it 43-37 IU with 16:19 to go. Good job of stepping in and shooting all in one motion there.
Good help defense forces Elston to miss a shot in the lane and knock the ball out of bounds at 15:15. Possession to Illinois.
Nice steal of Dumes at 13:48 and then picks up IU’s sixth foul of the half. Illini defense has been picking it up, turning over the Hoosiers. Poor job recovering on a screen at 13 minutes leads to easy dribble penetration for Rivers and a layup for Capobianco (Indiana up 48-38). Good recovery, as Richardson knocks an interior pass out of bounds to lead to the under-12.
Fails to box out Rivers out of the under-12, leading to an offensive rebound and score for a 54-44 IU game with 10 minutes left. Follows up with an aggressive drive and tough score in the lane to make it 54-46 with 9:36. It didn’t look like anything was there on that play, and I’m not sure how Richardson got that shot off. Not sure if that was a good shot, but it went. Degree of difficulty: 12. Overpenetrates after Cole tracks down a Tisdale air ball, resulting in a turnover and an ensuing long Indiana three that is missed by Dumes.
Hits a huge jumper at 1:09 to give Illinois a 61-60 lead (Illinois’ first lead since it was 8-6). Great movement off the ball there, running off a double down screen and then getting his feet squared and set when catching and shooting. Big shot on the road from the freshman, who hasn’t been involved that much offensively in the second half. Hits one of two free throws at 13 seconds to put Illinois up 66-60.
Overall: 14 points, 2 rebounds, 1 assist, 1 block, 3 steals and 2 turnovers in 35 minutes. Started and finished the game well, hitting the go-ahead basket for Illinois with 2 minutes left in regulation. Cutthroat shot there for a freshman.
● Bill Cole: Good hustle on jump ball, hustling to get the loose ball. Passes up on an open three out of a Tisdale feed from the post with 18:40 to go. Turns the ball over on next pass but does a good job of getting back and knocking the ball away from Hulls. Got to take the open look though. Nice block of a driving Rivers at 17:20. Gets another block, this time at 16:49 on a difficult mid-range jumper by Jones.
Back in for Keller with 13 minutes to go. Steals a Hulls’ pass that leads to an Illinois break, with Paul missing a point-blank layup.
Allows dribble penetration to Jones at 9:45, resulting in a layup and 21-11 Indiana lead. Poor communication with Tisdale on screen and roll game leads to a Jones’ two and 10-point deficit (23-13) at the 9:15 mark of first half. Bricks an open three at 8:38 as Indiana is really hounding the Illini in the half court defense.
Poor job at 6:55, allowing Jones to get baseline and hit a mid-range jumper for a 27-17 game. Comes over the back on a rushed Richardson three on next Illini possession.
Good job of moving his feet and staying with Dumas at 2:44, but the Indiana reserve wing hits a difficult floater in the lane for a 36-25 game. You’ll live with that shot as the Illini at least had better defensive energy. Gets called for an offensive foul at 2:17 as he lost control of the ball at the end of a sloppy offensive possession and then ran into Hulls, who makes one of two free throws to make it 37-25 Indiana.
Misses a point-blank layup with 18:45 to go in the second half off a nice drive and dish from Richardson. Got to finish that one. Great hustle at 18:04, diving and deflecting an IU entry pass that is stolen by Davis. After losing Jones a possession earlier on a three that is missed, gets blown by Jones, who makes the basket and is fouled leading to the under 16 with IU up 45-37.
Jones hits the free throw to make it 46-37 out of the under 16.
Nice offensive rebound of a Tisdale air ball at 8:54.
Good recovery and closeout after a ball screen leads to a missed Indiana three. Then gets fouled on the break, as Rivers hit him on a dunk attempt. That looked like a clean block on the play, though Rivers may have made contact with the body. Would have liked to see Cole go up a bit stronger there. Anyways, Cole bricks the first and hits the second to make it 57-55 IU with 5:30 to go. Good help defense on next possession, altering a Watford shot in the lane. Good help again at 4:53, getting in the way of a rushed Dumes shot. Rattles out a three that would have given Illinois the lead at 3:33. Poor job of guarding Jones III on ensuing Indiana possession as the Hoosier stops on the dime to give Indiana a 59-57 lead with 3:21 to go.
Overall: 1 point, 3 rebounds, 2 blocks, 2 steals and 1 turnover in 23 minutes. Made some hustle plays here and there, including a couple with under 5 minutes in the game. Struggled containing Jones III and Dumes at times.
● Mike Davis: Sloppy pass during the reversal on first possession of the game is stolen by Rivers, who misses a layup on the other end. Misses a baseline jumper at 18:51 – good job of Illinois getting the ball into the post. Good hustle on a loose ball after Cole blocked Rivers as Davis saves the ball and tries to throw it to half court; Hulls hustles it down though and attacks Tisdale for a layup and 6-6 game.
Get a tough foul on Rivers at 14:35 as it looked like he cleanly blocked the dunk attempt. Sweeps the rebound after Rivers misses the second free throw. Quietly doing a good job on defensive glass.
Loses Watford on the baseline at 11:20 resulting in an Indiana dunk and a 17-9 deficit. Gets fouled on the floor during the next possession, as Illinois at least got the ball into the post. Hulls with two fouls. Watford squares him up and hits a baseline jumper on the baseline at 10:20 to put Indiana up 19-9. Nice move by the Indiana freshman.
Slow to closeout at 6:14 as another short white guy from Indiana (Daniel Moore) hits a three for a 30-17 game. Rebounds a missed Jones’ free throw at 5:43 but immediately turns the ball over on a weak pass. Was lucky there as Elston lost the ball on the way up. Just an awful pass and total lack of concentration. Finally gets on the board at 4:24 as he slams home a dunk on the break for a 31-21 game. Rebounds a Watford miss at 4:04 and nearly turns the ball over again with a lazy pass – luckily, Jordan receives the pass.
Compounds a bad turnover (a poor pass to Jordan at 1:55) with poor containment against Watford, who beats him into the lane for an easy layup and a 39-25 Indiana lead with 1:39 to go. With the exception of his work on the defensive glass, Davis needs to wake up big time.
Catches a break at 17:39 of the second half when it looks like he fouled Watford on the follow through of a missed three. Anyways, the refs will call Tisdale for a foul on the block out. Nice work on the offensive boards at 17 minutes keeps Illini possession alive.
Gets an interior touch around the 15-minute mark and makes an aggressive move to the baseline, drawing a foul on the play. Bricks the first free throw and the second.
Poor court awareness at 6:52. After snagging a rebound off a Jones’ miss, has the ball stripped away from behind. Nice catch of a hot Cole pass at 4:37 and then the feed to Tisdale for a dunk and 57-57 tie. Called for a foul on the defensive boards at 4:10. Illinois gave up penetration and an open Hulls’ three on that possession before Davis fouled Elston, who bricks both free throws. Poor box out on a Dumes three leads to an IU extended possession, where Jones III is later fouled by Cole.
Jones makes one of two free throws to make it 60-59 with 2:17 to go. Commits a bad reaching foul at 1:05 with Illinois up 61-60. Mental gaffe there, with the foul committed out on the perimeter. Watford at the line, where he misses the one-and-one.
Overall: Just 2 points and 2 field goal attempts in 33 minutes. Did have 11 rebounds (10 defensive) and 1 assist but 4 turnovers as well. Very quiet game for Davis, who didn’t seem focused on this night. 2 field goal attempts is unacceptable, and a result of Davis not being active enough and Illinois not getting him enough touches.
● Mike Tisdale: Poor defense at 17:15 as Hulls drives by him for an easy layup. That was matador defense there as the 7’1’’ center let the 5’10’’ Hulls get to the rim way too easily. Misses a jump hook at 16:21 as Indiana’s Tom Pritchard forced him out there. Difficult shot. Goes up way too soft at 15:55 after McCamey feeds him with a gorgeous bounce pass; Tisdale is not strong enough on the dunk attempt, which is missed. Looked like he didn’t have control of the ball.
Back in at 13:12 for Davis. Travels on a post-catch, leading to the under-12. Was bothered by Indiana’s physicality there.
Poor job of meeting the ball at 10:49 as Jordan made a lazy post feed. Pritchard wanted it more and got it. Tisdale looking very sluggish out there. Gets absolutely murdered on a layup attempt at 10:09, sending him to the line for two. Good job of Illinois (down 10) of getting the ball inside there. Tisdale makes both free throws to make it 19-11. Indiana with a hard but legitimate foul there, showing that they want it more early in the game. Poor job by Tisdale and Cole on the screen and roll defense as Jones hits a long two to make it 23-13 with 9:10 to go. Tisdale showed but didn’t put his hands up as Cole switched to the screener. Poor communication there. Good helpline defense and block of Watford at 8:29. Hits a jumper from the top of the key at 7:55 to make it 25-15 Indiana. Good job of stepping into his shot.
Very nice job on the offensive boards at 7:15, grabbing a missed Paul free throw and drawing a foul on the way up. Hits both free throws to cut the Illini deficit to 25-17. Hits a difficult baseline jumper over Pritchard at 4:58 to make it 31-19 Indiana. A nice baseline move there and finally some toughness on that shot. Didn’t let contact alter his shot.
Makes two free throws out of under-4 to make it 31-23 Indiana. Gets fouled down low on the next Illinois possession by Pritchard. Lazy pass from Davis there, but at least the Illini are looking to go down low. Tisdale hits two more free throws to make it 34-25. Pritchard with three fouls. Gets blown by Watford on drive at 47 seconds, but the Indiana freshman misses the shot. Tisdale is fouled on the rebound and hits one of two free throws to make it 41-27 IU.
Picks up a ticky tack foul at the start of the second half when hedging Jones III off a ball screen. Illinois gets outhustled on the ensuing play, as Indiana gets on the floor and recovers a loose ball that leads to a Watford layup and a 43-28 deficit with 19:30 to go. Has his first shot of second half blocked by Capobianco. Strong finish at 16:44, with a two-hand baseline slam to make it 43-34. Great setup from McCamey.
Lack of aggressiveness at 14:37 as he watches a long rebound go by and into an IU player’s hand. Seemingly wasn’t paying attention as well. Illinois gets lucky as Jones III turns the ball over. Poor job of helping Richardson on a screen by Rivers, who scores an easy layup at 11:38 to make it 52-40 IU. Responds with a half-hook on the other end (52-42 IU) and a defensive board that leads to a Keller layup.
Air balls an open shot off the inbound at 8:54. Looked rush there. Good post up at 8:02 results in an Indiana foul and the Illini bonus for the rest of the way. Hits both free throws to make it 57-50.
Gets fouled on a post up at 6:29. Illinois in the double bonus. Tisdale hits two free throws to make it 57-54 Indiana. He is 13-of-14 from the line and has 21 points in the game. Commits a foul on the other end when he gets switched on Jones III (drawing the mock cheers from the IU crowd). Illinois with 6 fouls now. Two hand slam ties the game at 57 with 4:37 to go. Great feed from Davis there and a nice dive to the goal by Tisdale. Hits a huge baseline jumper off a screen at 3 minutes to tie the game at 59. A great job of rolling off the screen, stepping into his shot and shooting with confidence.
Nice job of diving and finishing at the bucket with 39.9 to go to give Illinois a 63-60 lead.
Overall: Finishes with 27 points, 9 rebounds, 1 block and 2 turnovers in 38 minutes. Was a clutch 13-of-14 from the free throw line. Had some frustrating moments early, but was generally steady. Illinois doesn’t win this game without Tisdale, who has two monster games sandwiched between two tough games. Like Davis, must find consistency.
● Demetri McCamey: In at 17:33 for Jordan. Aggressive drive at 17:03 leads to a foul on Jones and two free throws, which he makes for an 8-6 Illinois lead. Gets lucky when he buys a Hulls’ head fake just under the 16-minute mark; Hulls misses the three, but then hits one on the next possession to give Indiana a 9-8 lead. McCamey was a step late there on the recovery. In between the Hull jumpers, McCamey did a nice job of pushing the ball and feeding Tisdale, who missed a dunk. Playing aggressive, as he draws a blocking foul on Hulls to lead to under-16.
McCamey and Richardson are apparently confused at 14:34 as both men are guarding the same Indiana player; McCamey is slow to recover on Rivers, who attacks the rim and misses an aggressive dunk attempt before drawing a foul on Mike Davis. Rivers makes one of two for a 10-8 Indiana lead. Nice crossover at 13:15 creates space for a missed pull-up jumper. Jackson makes a good point: that shot was a bit rushed, and McCamey should have looked at Davis, who had the smaller Hulls guarding him. Misses a three with the shot clock running down on next Illini possession. Does a good job of pushing the ball after a Cole steal at 12:12, finding Paul for a layup that is missed.
Good job of attacking the basket at 9:36, drawing a foul on Indiana. Illinois is already in the bonus. McCamey hits both free throws to make it 21-13.
Terrible foul at 5:47, fouling Jones at the top of the key as he was fading away on a tough jumper. Jones hits one of two free throws to put Indiana up 31-17. A bit overaggressive on the push at 5:35, drawing a foul on Moore but missing both free throws. Nice feed to Davis for a dunk at 4:24 off an Indiana turnover. Gets lucky at 4:04 as his terrible switch defense leaves Watford open for a mid-range baseline jumper that is missed. Bailed out again, with a terrible entry pass to Tisdale (who is fouled) leading to the under-4.
Out of under 4, Hulls outhustles McCamey for a loose ball and then feeds Devan Dumes for a three and a 34-24 Indiana lead. Hulls has outplayed McCamey in the first half. Gets bumped at 1:28 after getting caught in the air on a baseline drive. Makes one of two to make it 39-26 in favor of IU. Illinois with poor transition defense off the miss, as Dumes gets the board, dribbles down court and gets fouled on a drive. Dumas hits two free throws to make it 41-26 at 1:24. Dumes with 7 points off the bench. Gets lucky as he allows penetration to Rivers with 30 seconds left but swipes it away from behind. Draws a foul on an aggressive drive at the end of the half. Makes one of two free throws to make it 41-28. 6-for-10 from the free throw line in the game. Nearly hacks Dumes on a three at the end of halftime, dangerously swiping at the ball. The shot rims around but does not fall, thankfully. No field goals for McCamey in the first half.
Starts second half. Overaggressive drive and turnover on first Illinois possession. Steps up and actually takes a charge on the next Indiana possession. That was a weak call by the officials, to be honest, as Rivers drove, kicked to the corner and brushed McCamey, who flopped. Gets his first field goal at 18:11 on a layup to make it 43-30 IU. Good job of filling the lane after a Richardson steal there. Maybe that basket will get him going. Good push and layup at 18 minutes following a Davis steal to make it 43-32. Good job at 17:32, getting on the floor and stealing the ball from Hulls before calling a timeout. McCamey with a little jawing at Hulls. Misses a three at 17:05; good look and ball movement there by the Illini. Playing angry and with aggression, as he drives baseline and feeds Tisdale for a dunk at 16:44 to make it 43-34 IU. Grabs the rebound on missed Jones’ three on next possession and then hits Richardson for a three to make it 43-37 with 16:19 to go.
Aggressive dribble drive off the screen at 15:34 leads to an IU foul (their third of the half). Great crossover dribble and attack seconds later, drawing a foul on Dumes. McCamey misses the first but makes the second to make it 46-38. McCamey is playing with incredible focus right now. Gets called for a tough foul at 14:31; after it looked like he cleanly stole the ball from behind. Tough break as McCamey had an open path to the basket there. Misses a tough three at 13:58; was fading there but actually set up that possession with a great dribble drive and kick to the corner to an open Jordan, who passed on the three. Gets an aggressive layup to go at 12:47 to make it 48-40 IU. Soft touch on that shot. Great dish on a Keller layup at 10:50 to make it a 52-44 game.
Good push out following a Keller block at 9:02 but is unable to finish inside on the break. Ball stays with Illinois as McCamey showed some tenacity going for the offensive rebound. Got a bit hung up in the air on the initial shot. At 8:43, has an and-one wiped away. Looked like he was fouled on the shot, and Weber is not happy with the call. McCamey makes both free throws to make it 54-48. That play developed after McCamey tracked down a long rebound off a missed Dumes three.
Misses a tough drive at 7:19 but sticks with the play, getting a tip-in on the second effort to make it 57-52 IU. That may have been McCamey’s first offensive rebound of the year (at least the first that I can remember). McCamey with 17 points. Gets lucky on next possession, losing Jones, who misses a three. After Davis gets rebound and turns it over, McCamey and Cole do a good job of trapping an IU screen, forcing a turnover on the play. Misses an aggressive drive that would have tied the game at 57 with 5 minutes to go. Like the move there and the use of the left hand on the play.
Down 60-59 with less than two minutes to go, McCamey misses a deep three that is rebounded by Jordan. Great find at 40 seconds off pick and roll game, hitting Tisdale underneath for a layup and 63-60 Illinois lead. Hits two clutch free throws at 23.4 seconds to put Illinois up 65-60. Then replaced by Cole. Later comes in for offense.
Overall: After a quiet first half scoring wise, McCamey picked up his intensity big time in the second half, playing like a mad man at times (something that hasn’t been seen during his first two years in Champaign). Finishes with 19 points (11-for-16 from the free throw line), 9 assists, 4 rebounds, 2 steals and 1 turnover in 37 huge minutes. I thought Hulls outplayed him in the first 20 minutes, but McCamey shut down the Indiana freshman in the second half, where Hulls didn’t score. McCamey was the straw that stirred the drink during the second-half comeback. Great game.
● Brandon Paul: In for Cole out of under-16. Has aggressive drive blocked at 14:40. The shot clock was winding down there and Paul looked like he carried the ball before getting stuffed at the rim. Nice steal of a Rivers’ pass at 14:06 and push off the turnover, drawing a foul while attacking the rim. Paul hits one of two free throws to make it 10-9 Indiana. Good defensive rebound at 13:39, battling the trees there. A bit slow on baseline help leads to a foul on Derek Elston, who went up for a dunk. Just missed the block there. Elston makes two for a 12-8 Indiana lead. Misses a wide open layup at 12:12 on the break after a great find by McCamey. Got caught up in the air there, and didn’t know if he wanted to dunk it or lay it in. Whatever the case, got to finish. Loses Hulls in the corner on next possession, resulting in wide-open three and a 15-9 game.
Nice steal at 7:50 while playing the passing lanes. Gets on the break but seems to take off a bit early, getting his shot stoned in his face.
Gets lucky at 7:16, as he is bailed out and fouled on a long jumper on first possession out of under-8. Misses the front end of the one and one. Gets quickly replaced by Cole.
Misses a high-arching three at 1:12; quick shot there, off of one pass from McCamey.
Enters for first time in second half out of the under 8. Plays a few minutes.
Overall: Finishes with 1 point, 1 rebound and 2 steals in just 8 minutes. Surprisingly, didn’t play much in the second half during the comeback, as Weber chose to go with Cole.
● Dominique Keller: In for Tisdale out of under-16. Misses an out-of-control jumper in the lane at 14:14. Rushed shot there.
Back in at 1:28 for the struggling Davis. Good hustle nearly forces a steal at 42.7 seconds.
Back in at 13:19 of second half, replacing Davis after he picked up an offensive foul. Poor defense against Watford at 12:40, who easily gets into the lane and hits a short half hook. Takes a terribly rushed shot (off a drive that wasn’t there) on next Illini possession, which results in a shot that hits the top of the backboard and forces Bruce Weber to call a timeout. Better job out of the timeout, blocking an interior Indiana basket and then running the floor, where McCamey finds him and Keller uses a nice pump fake to score a layup and make it 52-44 with 10:50 to go.
Great helpline defense at 9:10 leads to a block of Jones III, who got penetration, and spurs a break for McCamey.
Overall: 2 points, 1 rebound and 1 steal in 7 minutes. Didn’t provide stability early but had a few hustle plays in the second half. Surprised he didn’t get more minutes considering that Davis was struggling, but Keller was a bit shaky when in the game, at least early.
● Tyler Griffey: DNP – Coach’s Decision.
● Bruce Weber: Illinois trails 9-8 at the under-16. Cole has looked good in the energy lineup, but Indiana’s Hulls is outhustling everyone on the court, as he has 8 of Indiana’s 9 points. No points yet for Davis or Tisdale, though they have gotten a few touches in the post.
Takes a timeout at 11:56 after a Hulls’ three gives Indiana a 15-9 lead, which is the score at the under-12. Illinois lacks much urgency on offense and has gone cold, missing its last eight shots after starting 2-from-3. In fact, Richardson is the only Illini with a field goal. Indiana is hardly tearing up the nets, but getting opportune baskets, with Hulls 3-for-3 from three and providing a spark. Quite simply, Indiana looks more interested and energetic than the Illini, which is a step slow on defense and letting Hulls, a guy who shouldn’t be competing athletically, burn them with his smarts and shooting ability. Hulls averages 4.6 points per game by the way. The Hoosiers are on a 9-1 run in the last 5:30.
Down 25-15 at the under-8. Tisdale’s long-jumper at 7:55 is Illinois’ first two of the game and first make since a Richardson three with 18 minutes to go in the half. That’s right. Illinois goes 10 minutes without a field goal, and doesn’t hit its first two until under 8 minutes. Illinois with just three field goals in 12 minutes of play. The Illini have no urgency on offense, while Indiana is playing a scrappy game on both ends. Thankfully, Illinois is in the bonus and hitting its free throws, or this game could be a 14-16 point deficit. Time to step it up on both ends. Another poor start from the up-and-down Illini, who are not only playing down to a less talented team but lacking some toughness.
Down 31-21 at the under-4. Illinois was down 14 before a mini 4-0 run marked by Tisdale and Davis scores. Illinois is having a lot of mental breakdowns (especially McCamey on defense) but Indiana is not physically talented enough to put them away. Indiana with 6 turnovers, Illinois with 5. Just five field goals for Illinois, which is living from the free throw line. Indiana is 5/6 from three; Illinois 2/5.
Down 41-28 at halftime. 1 field goal combined between McCamey (he’s been blanked from the field) and Davis (he has a dunk). Illinois has shot 11 more three throws but left some points at the line (16-for-23). Indiana is 8-for-12 from the free throw line. Indiana is the less-talented team but has been way better in the first half. A very disappointing performance by the flat Illini, with McCamey doing a bad job of getting this team into any offense. Thank the heavens that Tisdale is getting to the line; he is 9-for-10 there and leading Illinois with 13 points. Hopefully, Weber is giving his team an earful at halftime, as the Illini have looked asleep. The refs have kept Illinois in the game; usually, you don’t get so many free throws on the road. A season-low 5 field goals in the first half, against an inferior Indiana team. That’s just unacceptable.
Here are the ugly halftime stats: Indiana shooting 56% from the field; Illinois 26%. Indiana 5/6 from three; Illinois 2/6. Illinois gets outrebounded 18 to 14, is down 10 to 4 in paint points and losing the bench points 12 to 7. Besides that, a good half. Jackson says that Illinois didn’t come out ready to play, and Wolfe adds that the Illini needs someone to step up and be a leader in the second half.
Weber starts the second half with McCamey instead of Jordan. McCamey is playing like a man possessed early in the second half, with four points, 2 assists, a steal and a defensive rebound. A 9-0 Illini run had the game to 43-37, and it’s at 45-37 at the under-16. Where has this energy been all game? Illinois with 4 field goals in that spurt, just 1 less than the entire first half.
Weber calls a timeout at 12:06 after a terrible drive and decision by Keller. Illinois is down 52-44 at the under-12. While the defense has been better and forced some IU turnovers, the Hoosiers are still shooting 50% from the field. Illinois is at 33% for the second half. Just when the Illini seemed to be making ground (cutting it to six), they haven’t been able to make a dent. The defense has had a few breakdowns (allowing too much penetration) and the offense has been a little rushed in this segment. This game is getting a bit testy as well.
Down 57-50 at the under-8 after Watford commits an offensive foul on a screen. Illinois is in the bonus the rest of the way, so it will be key to pound the rock inside. Wolfe makes a good point: just when it seems that Illinois is making its way back in this game, Indiana hits a big shot. Weber almost got T’d up after a tough call wiped away an apparent McCamey three-point opportunity. The emotion is high; does Illinois have what it takes to come back? Interestingly, Brandon Paul has not played in the second half. IU has outscored Illinois 22-6 in the paint in the game, though the Illini have gotten to the line more.
Paul comes in at under-8. Weber also has Cole, McCamey, Davis and Tisdale in the game. The Illini tie the game at 57 on a Tisdale dunk with 4:35 to go. Weber immediately calls a 20-second timeout after the play. Illinois has finally evened things up, thanks to the free throw line. Illinois with a 9-0 run. The game is tied at 59 at the under-4, with a little more than two minutes to go. Jones III will be shooting free throws; Illinois has a 35 to 15 advantage in foul shots (that usually doesn’t happen).
Out of the under-4, Weber is seen screaming at McCamey, who walks by him back onto the court. Weber comes out with Jordan, McCamey, Richardson, Davis and Tisdale for the final 2:20. Don’t like the idea of going 4-on-5 on offense with Jordan in the game, but Jordan gets a huge offensive rebound at 1:44. Weber calls a timeout at 1:22 with 12 seconds on the shot clock. Weber comes out with the same lineup. Illinois with no more timeouts left (after using the one at 4:35 after a Tisdale make). Illinois runs a play for Richardson, who hits a long jumper off a double down screen. Surprise play there, and great confidence in going to Richardson. Illinois then runs a beautiful screen and roll game with McCamey and Tisdale at 40 seconds, resulting in a layup and 63-60 lead. Illinois then plays good defense, forcing IU misses, and salts the game away at the line. Illinois wins 66-60 after finishing the game on an 18-3 run. Illinois shoots 39 free throws compared to just 18 for Indiana. Wow.
Overall: Weber can’t be happy with the first half, or the fact the Illini played like Dr. Jekyll/Mr. Hyde once again. Give credit though – Illinois made a concentrated effort to keep Tisdale involved, and it paid off with 14 free throws for the center. McCamey was also aggressive, attacking the lane and getting to the line 16 times. Great execution at the end of the game – give credit to Weber where it’s due. Illinois’ execution at the end of games has left a lot to be desired early in the year (see Northwestern, Gonzaga) but was great in last two minutes. Was short with Paul and Keller tonight. One complaint: only five field goals in the first half.
Overall: Illinois wins 66-60, surviving another slow start by slowly chipping away in the second half. Good mental toughness in a hostile environment in the last 20 minutes; poor focus in the first 20 minutes could have cost them. Anyways, Illinois wins a road game it had to have (a task easier said than done, even against a struggling Indiana squad). Somehow, Illinois shoots 21 more free throws than Indiana in Bloomington.
Play of the Game: With less than 2 minutes to go and Illinois down one, Jeff Jordan crashes the offensive board and rebounds a missed McCamey three, which extends the possession and eventually results in an Illinois timeout and D.J. Richardson jumper that put Illinois in the lead for good.
Player of the Game: McCamey. Tisdale had the better scoring game, but McCamey drove the comeback bus in the second half. Played with a determination and hunger in the second half that hasn’t been seen on his behalf.
Things I Liked:
● Hustle and execution in the last two minutes.
● McCamey’s fire and leadership in the second half.
● Tisdale’s clutch free throw shooting.
Things I Disliked:
● Another comeback (due to an awful start).
● Mike Davis looking disinterested at times.
● Illinois’ inability to play a complete game.
Well, that’s it for another Illini Tale of Tape.
Up next: Penn State vs. Illinois.
Topics: Assembly Hall, Bill Cole, Brandon Paul, Bruce Weber, Chasson Randle, Christian Watford, D.J. Richardson, Demetri McCamey, Dominique Keller, Eric Gordon, Illini Basketball, Illinois Basketball, Indiana Basketball, Indiana Hoosiers, Jeff Jordan, Jeffrey Jordan, Jeremiah Rivers, Jordan Hulls, Mike Davis, Mike Tisdale, Tom Crean, Tyler Griffey, U-of-I Basketball, University Of Illinois, Verdell Jones III