Illini Tale of the Tape: Illinois vs. Michigan State Spartans (1/16/2010)

It’s a battle of Big Ten unbeatens in today’s Illini Tale of the Tape.

After losing five games in the non-conference season, the Illinois Fighting Illini have taken care of business in winning its first four games of the Big Ten season.

Now the schedule is stepping up the competition for the Illini, which travel to the Breslin Center in East Lansing, Michigan to take on the #7-ranked Michigan State Spartans.

Under Bruce Weber, the Illini have typically played well amidst the craziness that is the Izzone.

How will Illinois fare in a game that could be a great resume builder come March?

Where I Was for This Game: Practicing my eighth grade basketball team, so I missed the good part of this game (the first half) but saw the bad part (the second half).

What I Remember From This Game:

● Hearing that Tyler Griffey provided a great spark off the bench in the first half.

● Illinois struggling in the second half, and quite frankly playing with little to no spirit until late.

● Illinois making a late push, but still losing by double-digits, as Michigan State controlled the second half and frustrated the Illini.

What Surprised Me/Stood Out Upon A Second Viewing:

● Entering this game, Illinois was averaging only 10 turnovers per game in Big Ten games. By 10:28 of the first half, Illinois already had six turnovers. The Illini would have 11 turnovers at the end of the first half, compared to 8 for Michigan State. Illinois would finish with 17 turnovers in the game; Michigan State with 17 as well.

● Entering this game, Illinois was 7-0 when McCamey had at least 7 assists. At the 15:17 mark of the second half, McCamey had 3 assists, and Illinois was down 10 (43-33). He’d finish with 5 assists.

● Entering this game, MSU and Illinois were tied 53 apiece in the series. After this season, they’re tied at 54 all-time.

● Forgot that Paul picked up a technical in the second half.

● Still don’t understand why it took 14 minutes in the second half for Illinois to start playing with some energy.

Illinois Fighting Illini (12-5, 4-0) vs. Michigan State Spartans (14-3, 4-0)

Announcers: Gus Johnson and Greg Anthony

At the start of the telecast, Anthony says that McCamey has quietly put himself in the discussion for Big Ten Player of the Year and then opines that he may be the most all-around point guard in the conference. Anthony states the keys to the game as follows: Illinois must control the defensive boards (an Achilles’ heel thus far) while Michigan State must get out and run; turnovers will also be a key.

For reference’s sake, here is Michigan State’s starting lineup:

G Kalin Lucas (Junior), G Durrell Summers (Junior),  G Chris Allen (Junior), F Delvon Roe (Sophomore), C Derrick Nix (Freshman), Head Coach Tom Izzo (15th season at Michigan State).

Illinois starts McCamey, D.J. Richardson, Bill Cole, Mike Davis and Mike Tisdale.

Demetri McCamey: Buries a curl jumper on the first possession of the game to give Illinois a 2-0 lead. Pulls up and buries a three on Illinois’ second possession. Great start for McCamey and the Illini as Illinois leads 5-0. Carries the ball at 18:26 as he made his move and dribble drove before kicking to a sliding Richardson, who had an open three measured up. Another unforced turnover at 17:56, losing the ball out of bounds off the screen and roll. McCamey is contesting that Lucas knocked that ball out, but McCamey was a bit too loose with the dribble. Travels at 17:40 after Davis cleared the board and fed the ball to him on the outlet. A great job by Lucas of getting right under McCamey, who turned and traveled. Three straight turnovers from McCamey (more than he had against Penn State – just 2 turnovers that game). Misses a bit of a quick three at 16:52. Took that shot from the top of the key (off a dribble hand off from Tisdale) and was fading there.

Good job of attacking Green at 13:15. Throws up an awkward shot but gets on the boards, drawing a foul on the put back. McCamey hits both free throws to put Illinois up 15-13. During the free throws, Anthony calls McCamey a five-tooler, saying he shoots, passes, rebounds, handles and defends; not sure if Anthony has seen much of McCamey’s defense, as he certainly doesn’t defend well at this point in his career. Anthony is right on when saying that McCamey performs under pressure and adding that the big thing to watch all year will be McCamey’s leadership. Picks up an off-the-ball, grabbing foul at 13:06.

Back in at 10:28 of the second half. Nice find of Griffey off the screen and roll, assisting on a three at 6:10 that puts Illinois up 24-18.

A bit slow recovering on Lucious at 5:47. Lucious buries a three to cut the Illini lead to 24-21.

Splits one of two free throws at 2:22 to cut the game to 29-25 in favor of Michigan State. Good job of drawing a foul on Draymond Green after attacking the boards on a wild Paul miss.  Air balls a half-court three with 0.2 seconds left in the half.

Misses a difficult shot in the lane after an aggressive drive at 16:40 of second half.

Good stop and start, aggressive dribble drive at 15:31. Uses his body to create contact with Green, scoring a difficult lefty layup and drawing a foul. Hits the free throw to make it 43-33 MSU. Nice job of leaking out after a Paul steal, resulting in layup and 43-35 game with 15:09 to go. Takes a half-hearted swipe at a driving Lucas, who scores a transition layup and gets the foul at 12:36. Great Scottie Pippen, behind the back ball fake on that play by Lucas.

Clanks a three at 11:13. Illinois’ offense is one pass and shoot. Terrible entry pass to Tisdale at 10 minutes is turned over. That was a lazy lob over the top. Turnover results in more Michigan State running, with Lucious hitting Morgan for a transition layup and a 62-41 game.

Commits a lazy foul on Lucious, leading to the under-4. That foul was committed at half court, and McCamey just swiped at the ball. Did not move his feet.  Lucious misses the three out of the under-4.

McCamey hits a pull-up jumper at 3:20 to make it 66-54. Illinois is on a 13-2 run, which ends when an aggressive Morgan misses a spinning layup but gets the board and lays it in the hoop to push to 68-54 with 2:50 left.

Fouls out with 59.9 seconds left as he fouls Summers following an offensive board given up by Griffey (after a missed Morgan free throw). Summers hits one of two to make it 73-59.

Overall: Finishes with 15 points, 5 assists, 3 rebounds and 4 turnovers in 36 minutes. Started great, was so-so the rest of the way. Not his best game in terms of getting Illinois into its offense. With that said, Greg Anthony is right to say that McCamey needs some help (here’s looking at you the Mikes – Davis and Tisdale).

D.J. Richardson: Starts the game on Kalin Lucas. Assists on a Davis bucket (plus the foul) at 18:48, after making a nice curl into the lane and beautiful dish in the air. Good ball defense on Lucas forces a brick at 18:36.

Misses a rushed three at 11:23. Was set in the corner there but rushed the shot early in the Illini possession.

Slow to recover on Lucas at 8:18, after a pass out from the Michigan State post. Lucas gets in the lane, and Richardson commits a shooting foul. Lucas misses the first but makes the second free throw to make it 19-16 Illinois. Richardson gets replaced by Cole during the free throws.

Gets caught playing the screen too high, leading to a Lucas jumper and 25-24 Michigan State lead at 4:24.

Nice crash of the offensive board at 1:53, tipping a Davis miss to Cole for an easy layup underneath the basket. Allows penetration to Lucas at 1:40, leading to a Cole foul down low. Lucas hits both free throws to make it 33-27 MSU. A bit overaggressive on a drive at 1:23 but is bailed out by a foul on Summers. Hits both free throws to make it 33-29 with 1:20 left. Loses track of Lucious at 1 minute, as the MSU sophomore buries a three to make it 36-29 State. That play started with Davis giving up penetration to Green, and the Illini failing to clear the defensive board. Lucas with an outstanding penetration and kick to Lucious. Misses a tough, forced runner at 40 seconds. Too early in the shot clock there. Good defense at 3.3 seconds, forcing a Lucious air ball and shot clock violation.

Misses a contested baseline pull up at 18:43 as that possession was going nowhere. Michigan State did a nice job of extending the defense, forcing Tisdale way out on the perimeter, where he is not comfortable, at least when he has his back to the basket. Struggling to find his stroke, as he misses an open three at 18:07 shortly after an Illinois inbound. Does not close out on Lucas on the ensuing break as the MSU junior hits a pull up two for a 40-29 game. Terrible transition defense there. Turns the ball over at 16:14, shuffling his feet before taking a dribble.

Back in at 14:06, replacing Paul, who was just hit with a technical. Commits a blocking foul on Lucious, leading to under-12. Illinois already with 7 fouls.

Lucious hits both free throws out of the under-12, to push the MSU lead to 56-38. Fails to draw iron on a rushed three at 11:40. Allows more Lucas penetration at 10:20. Lucas misses a difficult shot but grabs the rebound and contorts a twisting layup to make it 60-41 MSU. Tisdale couldn’t contest with 4 fouls.

Can’t buy a bucket as he misses an open three from the top of the key at 8:17. Richardson is 0-for-5 from the field. Slow to help down low 11 seconds later as Green gets an easy layup after diving on a pick and roll. Michigan State up 23, 64-41. Pushes at 8 minutes and hits Tisdale, who is fouled on the catch.

After Michigan State calls a timeout with 1:41 to go, Richardson loses Summers on the inbounds play. Summers cuts to the basket for a two-hand slam and 72-59 Michigan State lead. Gets tied up on an aggressive drive at 1:24. Picks up an offensive foul on Lucas, who pushed off against the pressure, with 1:22 to go. Misses an open three with a couple of seconds left in the game.

Overall: 2 points, 3 assists, 1 rebound and 3 turnovers in 26 minutes. Key stat: 0-for-8 from the field (including 0-for-6 from three). Takes too many threes early in his career. Worst game thus far as an Illini.

Bill Cole: Good job of forcing a tough left-handed flip in the lane by Summers on Michigan State’s first possession.

Nice post feed to Davis at 11:10 on a made basket. Great job of stepping up on defense as Summers was a bit out of control on the break. Knocked the ball away to Davis. Great job of keeping an Illini possession alive as he tipped a sloppy pass by McCamey back to Demetri, who found Griffey in the corner for an open jumper.

Good work on the offensive glass at 7:04, rebounding a Davis miss and kicking the ball to Griffey, who missed a push shot in the lane.

Back in at 2:11. Finds himself in the right place at the right time as Richardson tips another Davis miss to Cole underneath the basket. Cole lays it in for a 31-27 Michigan State lead with 1:52 to go. Tough foul at 1:40 as he hits Lucas on a drive, after Richardson allowed some penetration.

Raymar Morgan comes in early in the second half and hits a tough jumper just inside the three-point line over Cole, who could have come out a step farther. With that said, a tough shot that gives Michigan State a 38-29 lead with 18:24 to go in the game.

Back in at 8:42. Gets on the floor for a loose ball after Jordan snuck up from behind to deflect an entry pass to the posting Green.

Strong defensive rebound at 5:38. Buries an open three at 4:47 to cut it to 66-52 MSU. Play was set up by a Keller offensive board and assist after Paul missed a three. Nice hustle at 4:04, nearly tipping in a missed Tisdale baseline hook. At least someone is hustling.

Misses a contested three at 3:42. Illinois running Cole off some screens there. Nice job of getting back on defense and taking a charge at 3:36.

Overall: Finishes with 5 points, 3 rebounds, 1 assist and 2 steals in 21 minutes. Not the greatest defender for a hustle guy, but he at least played hard in this game.

Mike Davis: Clears board on Summers’ miss and then kicks to McCamey, who buries a three. Catches a bad break on the next Illini possession, as he fouls Delvon Roe, who had taken a tough fade away far out of the lane. Davis had his hands up, and it didn’t look like much of a foul. Anyways, Roe hits both free throws to cut Illinois’ lead to 5-2. Responds on the next Illini possession with an and-one. Great feed from a curling D.J. Richardson as Davis hit a little push shot on the baseline. Hits the free throw to make it 8-2 Illinois. Davis with more points already than in the last game against Penn State (just 2 points). Great activity early, deflecting a Roe pass and then forcing a travel at 18:04. Misses a tough pop back against Green at 16:16. That shot came off the bounce, which has not been one of Davis’ greatest strengths. Difficult look there. Follows up with another difficult look, this time a baseline fade away that he splashes in over Green for a 10-7 Illinois lead. A lot of skill was shown on that play as Davis took one dribble into Green, shoulder faked and then bounced off Green’s body for the fade away to the baseline. Misses a point-blank layup at 14:37 after recovering a McCamey pass that Keller couldn’t handle. There was some contact on that play (not enough for a foul), but Davis needs to finish there.

Back in for Keller around 13 minutes. Slow closeout on Draymond Green free-throw line jumper at 12:15 as Illinois’ lead is down to 15-13.

Nice job of coming up with a loose ball at 11:30 after Michigan State came up with an offensive rebound but lost the ball under the hoop. Beautiful turnaround jumper on the right block at 11:10 gives Illinois a 17-13 lead. Good job of getting post position there.

Illinois with good patience at 8:26, running a long possession before Davis misses a baseline jumper. That possession was extended by a Griffey offensive rebound after Davis clanked a free-throw-line extended jumper. Misses a baseline turnaround (but Griffey tips it in) and then misses an open 16-footer at 7:04. Getting looks but not hitting them. Good active hands in the passing lane at 6:03, knocking a ball out of bounds at half court and sending the game to the under-8 timeout.

An unforced turnover at 4:02 as he traveled before attacking an open lane.

Has a wild runner in the lane partially blocked on Illinois’ first offensive possession of second half. Was out of control there. Good job of getting back and knocking the ball off of Summers on ensuing MSU break. Nice rebound of a Richardson missed three at 18:05, but throws up an air ball on the put back. Didn’t have any balance there and rushed it. Complaining to the refs there but that was his fault.

Replaced at 18 minutes with Griffey.

Back in at under-16. Misses a half hook at 13:24 and then allows an easy post up and feed to Roe, who hits a lefty hook in the lane to make it 51-35 with 12:55 to go. Lethargic game for the cold Davis. Misses an open jumper at 12:41. Lucas gets the long defensive rebound and pushes up court for a layup (plus the foul, on McCamey). Lucas hits the free throw to put MSU up 54-35 with 12:38 to go. Gives up an offensive rebound to Green at 12 minutes, leading to an extended possession that eventually results in Richardson committing a blocking foul on Lucious at the under-12 timeout.

Back in at 2:38. Gets fouled off the ball at 2:02. Makes both free throws to make it 70-59 MSU. Hits a baseline half hook with 10 seconds left to make it 73-63. Then steals the ball of the press, kicking it to Richardson, who misses an open three in the corner. MSU secures the rebound and this game is over. Davis suddenly has energy late in the game.

Overall: 11 points on just 4-for-15 shooting. Got more looks tonight than in recent games, but where has the jump shot been as of late. Competed well in brief spurts, but only had 4 rebounds in 27 minutes, indicating that he was not active enough. Nonexistent in the second half until late, when he suddenly had some energy.

Mike Tisdale: Good recovery helps force a Roe turnover at 17:20. Poor job of moving his feet and using his hands at 16:45 as he fouls Roe, who makes a left-handed layup. A great high/low entry pass from Michigan State’s Draymond Green.  Roe makes the free throw to make it 8-5 Illinois.

Back in at under-16. Picks up a bad offensive foul at 12:37 when jostling for position with Green. Got to avoid that foul, as Tisdale now has 2 and will be on the bench for probably the rest of the half. He has not had a shot attempt in this game.

Back in with 3.3 seconds to inbound the ball. Just 5 minutes in a first half that saw Tisdale get no shots and go scoreless.

Good post defense on first possession of second half, forcing Nix to step on the baseline on a spin move. Illinois goes to Tisdale on first possession but he can’t get a shot off. Draws a foul at 18:05. On the floor. Tisdale was pushed all the way out to the free throw line. A poor job of sliding his feet at 16:09 as an attacking Draymond Green is fouled on a shot. That’s 3 fouls on Tisdale; two bad ones. Green makes one of two to make it 43-29 MSU.

Fouled by Raymar Morgan at 14:15. Tisdale is working hard to get the ball in the post, but Michigan State’s physical play is really bothering him. Picks up his fourth foul at 13:56 after Jordan allowed easy penetration for Kalin Lucas. Comes to the bench, looking frustrated. Johnson says this may be his worst game of the season. Still, doesn’t have a point or a shot.

Back in at the under-12. Might as well play him. Technically, gets his first shot at 8 minutes (a free throw) after being fouled on the floor. Tisdale misses the front end of the one and one.

Helps Keller on Green at 6:21, leaving Roe open for a tip-in layup and 66-45 MSU lead. Is fouled at 6:13, off the ball again. Finally gets on the board by hitting both free throws. MSU up 66-47 with 6 minutes to go. Gets his first shot of the game at 4:04, missing a rushed half hook to the baseline.

Overall: Awful, foul-riddled game, worse than the one against Gonzaga (when he also was in deep foul trouble). Only played 1 shot in 19 minutes, and just 2 points all from the free throw line. After having two good games in the Big Ten, Tisdale was nonexistent yet again. This happens way too often with the junior, who really struggled with Michigan State’s physicality.

Jeff Jordan: In for Richardson out of under-16. Catches a break at 12:58 as he got caught under a screen, leaving Lucas open for a three that was missed.

Good hustle on the offensive glass at 11:23, knocking a missed Richardson three off an MSU player, thus keeping the ball with the Illini.

Back in out of under-8. Good closeout at 5:24 and partial block of a Lucious three. Travels at 3:17, leading to the under-4.

Terrible turnover at 2:55, when trying to hit Griffey down low off the pick and roll. The pass wasn’t there, and the turnover results in an MSU break, capped off by a Roe layup for a 29-24 Michigan State lead. Draymond Green with the steal and then ran the break before assisting to Roe.

In for Richardson at 16:09.

A bit slow to recover on Lucas at 14:37 as the MSU star rattles in a baseline jumper for a 45-35 Illinois deficit. Illinois gave up too much penetration there. Can’t contain Lucas, who easily gets into the lane and draws a foul at 13:56. Tisdale picked up his fourth foul there. Lucas hits both free throws to make it 49-35.

Back in at under-12. Good push at 10:44, scoring on an open layup and drawing Roe’s fourth foul on the play. Jordan hits the free throw as the Michigan State cheering section asks “Who’s Your Daddy?” Illinois is down 58-41.

Good weak side defense at 8:29, knocking away an entry pass to Green.

Sees some time at the end of the game, as he subbed in for defensive purposes late.

Overall: 3 points, 1 assist, 1 block and 2 turnovers in 20 minutes. Played alright I guess, but allowed a lot of penetration. Not the defensive player that he’s been made out to be. But who else can Illinois go to at this point, with Paul really struggling in Big Ten play?

Brandon Paul: In for Cole at 16:45. Fails to get back on Raymar Morgan at 16:10 as the MSU senior buries an open jumper in the transition for an 8-7 Illinois lead. Catches a break at 15:20 as he allows baseline to MSU sophomore Korie Lucious, who is a bit out of control on a reverse layup that is missed. Good job at 15:13 of filling his lane in transition and splashing an open three. That was a confident-looking shot there from Paul, who has struggled big time in the last three Big Ten games. Illinois up 13-7. Does a nice job of getting his hands on a loose ball off a missed Draymond Green layup and then tapping it to Keller at 14:46. Morgan gets some penetration on Paul at 14:21, and the Illinois freshman does a nice job of recovering; however, Morgan hits a tough jumper in the lane to cut the Illinois lead to 13-9. Travels at 14:03 on a driving attempt from the top of the key, leading to the under-16.

Fouls Green from behind at 13:50, swiping at the ball from behind and grazing the head of the Michigan State sophomore captain. Green hits both free throws to make it 13-11 Illinois. Misses a fade away three from the baseline at 13:31; got to square up there after coming off a screen.

Back in at 9:38 for Richardson. Misses a deep three at 9:20. That shot was pretty quick in the possession, and Paul was fading again. Need to go straight up. Misses a terribly rushed banker at 7:46 – good off the ball movement there, but a poor job of catching and squaring there. Just threw that ball at the hoop. Great hands at 6:51, getting his paws in the passing lane and stealing a pass to a cutting MSU opponent.

Back in at 3:49, just before the under-4 timeout.

Picks up an offensive foul under the basket against Raymar Morgan out of the under-4.  Nearly turns the ball over at 2:34, trying to go too fast on drive. Forces a difficult shot in the lane at 2:22, but Illinois is bailed out when McCamey is fouled on the offensive rebound attempt.

In for Richardson at 18 minutes of second half. Good job of getting on the floor for a loose ball after Lucas overdribbled, forcing a tie up with the possession arrow going to Illinois. Immediately turns the ball over on the next Illini possession, losing the ball on an out-of-control baseline drive. Nice closeout on Chris Allen and long rebound at 16:56. Fails to locate Allen in transition after a McCamey miss, resulting in a corner jumper and 42-29 deficit. Aggressive post up at 15:53 forces a shooting foul, leading to the under-16.

Paul hits one of two free throws out of the under-16 to make it 43-30. Good use of his athleticism at 15:13 to steal the ball on the baseline. Simply jumped and took that pass away from the Michigan State player. Good job of pushing off the turnover (nearly double dribbles) and hitting a streaking McCamey for a layup. Out of control drive and missed bank shot at 14:10; nearly hustles down rebound before Michigan State gets on the break, which is stopped as Paul is hit with a technical for complaining to the official. Paul thought Summers ran him out of bounds on the rebound attempt. Lucas hits the technical free throws to make it 47-35 with 14:06 to go. Paul is pulled and getting talked to by Weber on the bench.

Back in at 8 minutes after his technical. Hits a difficult left-handed banker at 7:24, following an aggressive drive, to make it 64-43 MSU. Another nice drive at 6:50 cuts the game to 64-45 and forces an MSU timeout.

Nice active hands at 6:01, getting in the passing lane and deflecting a ball out of bounds. Follows up with a nice closeout on an Allen miss.

Air balls a three off an inbounds play at 1:16. Air balls another three at 44.9 seconds, but Michigan State steps out of bounds on the play.

Overall: 8 points (just 3-for-11 from the field), 5 rebounds, 1 assist, 3 steals and 3 turnovers in 20 minutes. A few bright spots, but is mostly a train wreck in context of offense, at least recently. When he can slow himself down, he’s quite good. Plays too fast, which hurts his decision making. Having a rough patch recently, but this is what’s expected with the raw Paul.

Dominique Keller: In for Tisdale at 16:45.

Good work on the boards at 13:26, nearly tipping in a missed Paul three but then tracking down his own miss. Gets replaced by Davis around 13-minute mark, but is back in for foul-troubled Tisdale at 12:28. Bricks an open three at 11:56; was fading on the shot rather than going straight up. Can’t secure defensive rebound of a missed Summers’ three, with the ball going out of bounds to MSU and the under-12 upon us.

Good idea at 10:36 when coming off a curl screen and looking to attack the basket. Had an open lane but forgot to be strong with the ball, which was stripped by Michigan State.

Back in at under-8 for Davis. Immediately turns the ball over at 5:33 on a soft entry pass to Griffey. Comes up with an ensuing defensive rebound after Jordan partially blocked a Lucious three at 5:24. Misses an open baseline jumper at 5:09, set up off a nasty crossover and dribble drive by McCamey. Allows easy post for Roe at 4:55 and then fouls the Michigan State big man. Is replaced with Griffey as Roe hits both free throws to make it 24-23 Illinois.

Keller in at 13:56 of second half, after Tisdale picked up his fourth foul. Picks up an over-the-back foul at 13:24 after Davis missed a half hook. Hits an open three from the top of the key at 12:20 to cut the Illini deficit to 54-38.

Clanks a quick shot at 9:41. Lazy pass to Richardson at 8:42 causes the Illini freshman to step out of bounds. Nice defensive rebound at 7:06 but then has a lazy outlet pass nearly stolen.

Nice head fake and use of one dribble to get and hit an open jumper at 5:26. MSU leads 66-49. Picks up defensive rebound and then an offensive rebound that leads to a Cole three.

Overall: 5 points, 6 rebounds, 2 assists and 2 turnovers in 18 minutes. Numbers look alright, but is not providing a defensive spark off the bench. Decision making and hustle has not always been there; when it is, he’s a fine backup and enjoyable player to watch.

Tyler Griffey: Sees first action at 10:28, replacing Keller. Buries an open corner jumper at 10 minutes to put Illinois up 19-13. That possession was kept alive by Cole, and Griffey showed great confidence in stepping into and firing that open look. Can’t get a loose ball at 9:15 after Summers missed a lob dunk from Lucas. The Michigan State player got on the floor while Griffey tried to pick up the ball; MSU came up with the ball and Summers got a dunk off the play for a 19-15 game in favor of Illinois.

Great hustle at 8:55, coming up with a long offensive rebound after Davis bricked a mid-range jumper from the free throw line extended.  Great all-around hustle at 7:38. Clears the defensive board on a missed Summers’ jumper in the transition; busts up court before falling down; then crashes the boards and tips in a missed Davis half-hook. Great job of getting his left handed on that ball. Griffey with four points, and Illinois is up 21-16. A nice spark from the freshman. Does not get back on defense quick enough as Morgan beats all of the Illini down court for a layup that makes it 21-18 Illinois. Poor help defense from Davis and Cole there, as Griffey was getting back into the play after the tip-in. Misses a one-hand push shot just under the free throw line at 7:04, after Cole came down with an offensive board of another Davis miss. Buries a three at 6:21 to put Illinois up 24-18. Good job of rolling off the pick and roll there, and then getting himself into shooting position. A nice find from McCamey.

Gets a brief rest out of the under 4 and then comes back in for Keller. Turns the ball over at 4:40 as he was unable to handle a pass from Richardson. Took his eye off the ball on that play. Misses a fade away three at 4:06 but hustles down the rebound. Davis will travel shortly after the board. Can’t get over a screen at 3:29 to close out on an open Summers, who buries a long two to put Michigan State up 27-24. Where was Paul or Jordan on that play? Summers was wide open.

Commits a silly, overaggressive foul on the perimeter at 2:15. MSU is in the bonus and Roe hits two to put MSU up 31-25. Roe with 11 points and is 7-for-7 from the free throw line.

In for Davis at 18 minutes of second half. Misses a turnaround, half hook right off the inbounds play. Slow to closeout on Allen jumper at 16:35.

Back in at under-12. Allows easy dribble penetration and layup by Morgan at 11:28 as MSU is now up 20, 58-38. Struggled to contain the quicker player on the perimeter there. Allows a Morgan offensive board at 10:53 but then tracks down a loose ball 4 seconds later.

After failing to secure a rebound against Morgan at 2:50, responds with a corner three at 2:38 to make it a 68-57 game.

Gives up an offensive rebound to the smaller Summers at 59.9 seconds, after a missed Morgan free throw. Scores a left-handed layup to make it 73-61 with 41 seconds left. MSU calls a timeout as Illinois traps the inbound.

Overall: Best game as an Illini, finishing with 12 points, 7 rebounds, and 1 turnover in 15 minutes. Great spark in the first half, not only shooting with great confidence but crashing the boards. Liked this kid’s composure on the road, in a hostile environment. Still makes a lot of little mistakes on the defensive end, but the kid seems to understand how to play, which can’t be taught.

Richard Semrau: Sees his first action in three games, looking to steal some minutes out of under-4. Good show on a screen against Lucas. Plays less than a minute as Davis comes back in the game.

Overall: Zeroes across the board in 1 minute. I would have liked to see this kid get more time, considering how tough Tisdale and Davis have been at times. Not saying Semrau would have been spectacular, but I think he would have been solid enough defensively, especially with his upper body in the low post, and would have kept defenses honest with the ability to hit a jumper here and there.

Bruce Weber: Illinois leads 13-9 at the under-16. The Illini have done a nice job of showing some patience offensively, with the exception of 4 turnovers (3 by McCamey, 1 by Paul). With that said, Illinois is playing with good composure. I like the fact the Illini have gotten Davis involved early. Defensively, Illinois came out with better intensity than Michigan State, forcing Izzo to bring in 3 subs pretty early. Michigan State is 3-for-9 from the field; Illinois 5-for-8. The Spartans are starting to chip away as the up-and-down Raymar Morgan has been up so far. With that said, got to like the start for the Illini in a hostile environment. It will be important for Weber to get Tisdale back in the game and involved offensively as well.

Illinois is holding on to a slim 15-13 lead at the under-12. No field goals in that spurt as the offense has been patient but not hitting some open but rushed looks. Michigan State is slowly starting to enforce its will here, limiting the Illini to one shot and then pushing the ball. The Spartans are also starting to attack their own offensive glass. Izzo’s teams can always rebound, so Illinois better shore up this area of the game. Illinois is 5-for-11 from the field; Michigan State 4-for-12. Illinois is 2-for-5 from three; Michigan State 0-for-2.

Illinois needs some scoring with Tisdale likely done for the half; Weber comes out with Jordan, Richardson, Cole, Keller and Davis. Weber takes a timeout at 9:10 after Michigan State comes up with a loose ball and gets a dunk. Illinois is still up 19-15, and the Illini have been getting most of the loose balls thus far. Prior to that field goal, Michigan State hadn’t scored in 3 minutes. The Spartans are a bit out of character, playing sloppier than usual. With that said, they are really starting to pound the offensive glass. I believe they have three straight offensive rebounds on their last three possessions. MSU is just not finishing. Michigan State is shooting 29%. Illinois with 6 assists to 3 for Michigan State.

Out of the timeout, Illinois has a nice long possession during which Davis misses a free-throw-line extended jumper, Griffey gets an offensive board, and Davis misses again. Griffey provides a big spark for the Illini in this spurt, scoring five points to put Illinois up 24-18. Illinois is starting to do some little things, such as crashing their own offensive boards and getting their hands out in the passing lanes. While having 6 turnovers, the Illini are up 6 points. Michigan State with 6 turnovers as well and struggling to find its shooting stroke (6-of-19 from the field compared to 9-of-23 for Illinois). Credit Illinois, which is playing with good effort against what’s traditionally one of the nation’s hardest working teams. Illinois is winning the board game 14 to 13 at this point (certainly a surprise). Got to sustain this effort the rest of the first half.

Illinois doesn’t in the next segment, trailing 27-24 at the under-4. Illinois with 4 turnovers in this spurt, 3 of which were unforced. On the other end, Michigan State is picking it up on offense. A crucial 3:17 for Illinois to stay close here. Illinois with 10 turnovers to 6 for Michigan State. The Spartans have tried to run but only have 4 transition points thus far. Michigan State shooting 39%, Illinois 36%. Michigan State on a 9-0 run in the last 4:52.

Down 36-29 at halftime as Michigan State is getting whatever it wants on offense. Lucas is penetrating at will, and the Spartans are starting to hit the outside shot. Contrarily, Illinois rushed some shots but was able to stay somewhat close at the free throw line. Illinois may have outworked Michigan State early in the first half, but this game has clearly swung in favor of the Spartans. A sloppy end of the half negates what had been a good 12-14 minutes at the start of the game. Too many unforced errors, though Michigan State has picked it up defensively.

Some halftime stats: Illinois shooting 33%; Michigan State up to 41%. Illinois is 3-for-10 from three; Michigan State 2-for-7. Illinois has 18 rebounds to 17 for Michigan State, which has 16 bench points compared to 10 for the Illini. Michigan State is 12-for-13 from the free throw line.

CBS shows Izzo with his assistants at halftime. As they look over the first half stats, Izzo says his guards are a joke right now. Maybe early in the first half, but not in the final minutes, as Lucas, Lucious and Summers started to do some good things.

Well, Illinois hasn’t come out with much intensity in the second half as Michigan State has extended this game to 41-29 after a Lucas three forces Weber to call a timeout. The Illini don’t look comfortable: Tisdale is getting pushed out all over the place, Davis and Richardson are rushing shots, and McCamey is too passive, trying to be too much of a facilitator when Illinois needs him to push. This has become a half-court war in favor of Michigan State. Anthony hits it on the head: Illinois needs to start running some worthwhile offense.

Weber is working the officials out of the timeout, probably trying to convey the point that Michigan State is playing too physical with Tisdale. The griping works as Michigan State is called for an off-the-ball foul on Tisdale and then a holding foul on the inbounds play.

Illinois is down 43-29 at the under-16. The Illini have yet to scratch in the second half, and the offense looks terrible. A lot of one-on-one stuff and indecisive shots. Michigan State is beating up the Illini defensively, as Tisdale is getting thrown around down low. Even worse, the body language is not good; Illinois looks like it’s lost this game and if a comeback is not even within the realm of possibility. Michigan State is doing a good job of pushing off Illinois misses, but hasn’t been all that great themselves. With that said, they simply want this game more than Illinois, which has been outscored 25-5 since taking a 24-18 lead. Illinois with another long drought, having not made a field goal in the last 7 minutes of play. Make that three straight games with awful droughts. Illinois needs an infusion of toughness at this point. They’ve been punched in the mouth and have not responded.

Down 54-38 at the under-12. Illinois’ motion has little movement and is rather stagnant. The Illini are cold from the field, with Davis unable to buy a bucket. Lucas has really taken over this game. After just 5 points in the first half, Lucas already has 11 points in 8 minutes in the second half. His speed is a problem, as MSU is running in transition and getting easy penetration in the half court. Illinois had cut the game to 8 with a 5-0 spurt out of the under-16, but this game is looking like a blowout. Illinois’ frustration is apparent in Tisdale (4 fouls, 0 shots, 0 points) and Paul (a technical foul). Illinois is 3-for-12 to start the half; MSU 6-for-10.

Illinois takes a timeout at 8:52 as Michigan State is up 62-41. Keller with a sloppy turnover on the previous play, and Illinois with 16 turnovers in the game. Michigan State is running up and down the court, and the Illini offense is nothing but one pass and throw up a bad shot. Time for Weber to question his team’s guts.

Weber is subbing three and four men at a time, and his latest lineup of Paul, Cole, Tisdale, McCamey and Keller is at least playing with a little more energy (for what it’s worth at this point of the game). Illinois is down 64-45 at the under-8 (with less than 7 minutes to go). Barring a miracle, this game is over. Next six minutes will be an important time to see which Illini care. Paul has scored two quick buckets on aggressive attacks of the lane; conversely, Michigan State has let up a bit, which irked Izzo enough to call a timeout.

Down 66-52 at the under-4. All of a sudden, Illinois is playing with some urgency (most notably Cole, Paul and Keller). It only took the Illini 14 minutes to start playing hard in the second half. Too bad this game is out of reach. Now it’s just an exercise in making a comeback, as the Illini may make this a respectable finish but have no chance of winning this game.

Takes a timeout at 2:38 after Griffey buries a three. All of a sudden McCamey is attacking off the dribble. Weber brings in Davis out of the timeout, who doesn’t deserve the playing time but may be in for his length. Illinois with a 16-4 run in last 5 minutes. Illinois brings the full-court press out of the timeout. Michigan State gets it into the half court and Lucas eventually gets into the lane for a 70-57 game.

Illinois loses 73-63. As painfully obvious, the comeback is way too late. Illinois with great energy in the final six minutes; what took them so long in the second half? Pressing defense seemed to cause MSU problems; maybe the Illini should have went to it earlier in the half?

Oh well. Nothing but Monday Morning Quarterbacking here. Illinois didn’t deserve this game.

Overall: Good start for about 12 minutes of first half; not bad in the last 6 minutes; as for the 20 minutes in between, not good effort, energy or toughness. Another long scoring drought and game where Davis and Tisdale struggled. Weber can’t seem to find a way to get both these guys to play well in the same game. Also, another long offensive drought (3rd straight game). Weber needs to find some more consistent energy and scoring.

Overall: Illinois loses 73-63, with the final score not indicative of the blowout in the second half. No field goals for Tisdale or Richardson, and a rough shooting night for Davis. As Cole is not a scorer, that just leaves McCamey, who was 5-for-10 on the game. Effort was awful in the second half. Illinois was +1 in rebounding in the first half; finished -8 for the game (42 Michigan State rebounds to 34 Illinois rebounds). Not upset they lost this game; upset with how they competed.

Play of the Game: Not many positives for the Illini. With about 6 minutes left in the game, McCamey hits the screener Griffey off a pick and roll. Griffey calmly hits the open three to make it 24-18 Illinois. From this point on, it’s all Michigan State.

Player of the Game: Tyler Griffey for Illinois; Lucas and Morgan for Michigan State.

Things I Liked:

● Good start.

● Griffey’s contributions.

Things I Didn’t Like:

● Tisdale committing bad fouls, getting pushed around, and taking only 1 shot (when the game was already lost).

● Davis continuing to struggle.

● Lack of heart for the first 14 minutes of the second half.

● Weber’s inability to get any consistency out of this team.

Well, that’s it for another Illini Tale of the Tape.

Up next: Purdue vs. Illinois.

Until then.

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Tags: Assembly Hall Bill Cole Brandon Paul Bruce Weber Chris Allen D.J. Richardson Delvon Roe Demetri McCamey Derrick Nix Dominique Keller Draymond Green Durrell Summers Illini Basketball Illinois Basketball Jeff Jordan Kalin Lucas Michigan State Basketball Michigan State Spartans Mike Davis Mike Tisdale Raymar Morgan Richard Semrau Tom Izzo Tyler Griffey U-of-I Basketball University Of Illinois

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