With three straight losses in the Big Ten, Illinois badly needed a win on January 27th at Penn State, which had hardly been a Happy Valley for the Illini in recent seasons.
In a game of mini-runs, Illinois would have the final short burst of energy and send the Nittany Lions to an 8th straight loss to start the conference season.
Where I Was for This Game: Coaching my eighth grade basketball team. This game was an early start (6 p.m. central) so I missed its beginning while getting home from work. I did see some of the first half and listened to some of the game on the radio en route to my team’s basketball game. On my way back from my team’s game, I was glad to hear that the Illini pulled this game out.
What I Remember from This Game:
● Not much, except that Dominique Keller hit a tough fade away jumper to help the Illini pad its tenuous lead late into the game.
What Surprised Me during This Viewing:
● Coming into this game, Penn State was second in the Big Ten in rebounding.
● I forgot that Illini juniors Bill Cole and Demetri McCamey were voted co-captains by their teammates prior to this game.
Before I get into the breakdown of this game, let’s revisit the Penn State-Illinois game from earlier in the 2009-2010 season.
Just 15 days earlier, on January 12th, Illinois avoided another home loss to the Nittany Lions, pulling out a 54-53 victory thanks to the offensive heroics of McCamey and the long arms of 7’1’’ center Mike Tisdale. That game was hardly pretty, but Illinois was able to pull out what looked like it was going to be Penn State’s first conference victory. To revisit this earlier tilt, check out the Illini Tale of the Tape: Penn State vs. Illinois.
With that out of the way, let’s do this thing.
Illinois Fighting Illini (12-8, 4-3) vs. Penn State Nittany Lions (8-11, 0-7)
Head Coach Bruce Weber makes a change to his starting lineup, sitting struggling junior Mike Davis for freshman Tyler Griffey, and then going with his recent lineup of McCamey, D.J. Richardson, Cole and Tisdale.
Penn State’s starting lineup under Head Coach Ed Dechellis is as follows:
G Talor Battle (19.1 ppg), G Chris Babb, F Bill Edwards, F David Jackson, F Andrew Ott.
Announcers: Tom Hamilton and Jon Crispin
Hamilton starts the telecast by saying that Tisdale is “one of the dominant centers in the Big Ten” (if so, he hasn’t been playing like it of late).
● Demetri McCamey: Misses a difficult three on Illinois’ first possession, which worked the shot clock and got Tisdale an early post touch but couldn’t go anywhere due to great PSU defense. Poor containment of Babb at 19:01, allowing the PSU sophomore to go baseline and hit a reverse to make it 2-0 PSU. At 18:25, gets caught under a screen for Babb and is slow to recover, resulting in a long jumper at a 4-2 PSU lead. Good closeout on a Babb missed three at 15:23 and then follows up with a beautiful lob pass at 15:14 to Tisdale, who throws the ball down with authority. McCamey is doing a great job of distributing the ball and has several assists already in the game. Beautiful assist at 14:05 with the shot clock running down, as he fires a pass inside to Griffey, who makes a difficult layup. Illinois is on a 7-0 run thanks to McCamey dishing the rock. Make that a 10-0 run as McCamey sets up a Bill Cole three for a 20-9 lead at 13:13.
Misses a three at 12:35 as Penn State throws some zone at Illinois. Aggressive penetration at 11:23 leads to a PSU foul and the under-12.
Has a tremendous first half. While he doesn’t score, he has 8 assists. Illinois with 40 points in the first half, thanks in large part to McCamey running a crisp, calm and effective show. Nice rebound from a tough game at Northwestern, where he had 6 turnovers. Got to do it for two halves now.
Perhaps a step slow on a closeout of a Babb three at 17:17, but the PSU sophomore did hit a tough shot to cut the Illini lead to 42-39. Poor job of bumping a screen inside the lane at 16:44, resulting in an open PSU layup and a 42-41 Illinois lead. McCamey left Mike Davis out to dry there, as the Illinois junior forward couldn’t recover in time. Poor containment of Battle at 15:04 leads to baseline penetration and a Jackson layup as Illinois is suddenly down 46-42.
Good closeout on a missed Babb three at 13:11. Illinois dodges a bullet when Jones gets the offensive board but steps out of bounds.
Trying to get his offense going out of the under-8, but misses two threes. Good defense at 3:26, knocking the ball from Frazier out of bounds.
A good job of pushing the ball at 3:20 after Battle missed a long three. Finds Richardson on the break, who was fouled. Gets his first points of the night, when he hits a difficult three with the shot clock down and the game clock at 1:57. McCamey used a wicked crossover dribble to free up some space there, with his three putting Illinois up 10 (64-54). Fouled at 1:22 after Battle missed two free throws. McCamey hits both free throws to put Illinois up 68-59. Fouled at 1:11, bricking the first free throw and then hitting the second to put Illinois up 71-64. Fouled at 46.3 seconds after PSU missed a difficult three from the corner. McCamey bricks the first free throw and the second. Nothing’s ever easy with this Illinois team as Battle makes a layup to cut the Illini lead to 73-67.
Overall: A great first half with 8 assists. Not as good in the second half, with just 1 assist, as Illinois’ offense wasn’t as smooth. Scored his first basket late, but it was huge: a three that put Illinois up 10. Added 3 rebounds and had 2 turnovers in 37 minutes.
● D.J. Richardson: Starts off on the difficult Battle. Nice job of catching, squaring and drilling a three from the wing at 18:05, thus giving Illinois a 5-4 lead. Calmly steps into and drills a quick three (set up by a dribble handoff from McCamey at 15:46), giving Illinois a 13-9 lead.
Back in out of the under-12 for McCamey. Briefly loses Battle at 9:40 off an inbounds play, resulting in a baseline jumper (Battle’s first two points of the game), and a 24-15 Illinois lead. Misses an open three on the next Illini possession. Hits a cutting layup at 7:58, following a great bounce pass out of the post from Tisdale, to make it 26-17 Illinois.
Hits a beautiful shot at 19:04, coming off the screen, curling and squaring up for a 42-34 Illinois lead. Follows up with a rushed three on the break at 18:37, which leads to a PSU break and Battle layup on the other end. Illinois now leads 42-36.
Catches a huge break at 10:23 when Babb steals his soft pass to McCamey and gets on a break that results in Battle fumbling the ball out of bounds. That should have been two for Battle, and a 53-48 lead. Illinois got lucky. Responds with a tough pull-up jumper at 9:57 to cut the PSU lead to 51-50. That was a difficult shot off the bounce.
Hits two free throws at 3:20 to put Illinois up 61-53. Good Illinois defense on the next possession forces a Penn State timeout.
Fails to contain Battle at 2:34, who gets into the lane and is fouled. Battle splits the free throws to cut the Illini lead to 61-54. Poor containment of the dribble at 1:36 results in a Battle layup and a 66-59 game. Fouled at 1:12, with Illinois up 69-62. Hits the first and the second to put Illinois up 70-62. Commits a terrible blocking foul at 1:04, stopping the clock and putting Babb on the free throw line. Left his feet on the closeout and got too close to Babb, who hits one of two to cut the Illinois lead to 71-65. Rebounds Babb’s miss on the second free throw and is fouled with 1:02 left. Richardson hits both free throws to make it 73-65. Fouled at 37.6 and hits both free throws to put Illinois up 75-67. 8/8 from the free throw line for Richardson. Good closeout on Babb on next possession, as Davis rebounds the missed three.
Overall: Great game, with 20 points (on 5-for-7 shooting from the field and 8-for-8 from the free throw line). Added 3 rebounds and 2 assists, but had 2 turnovers. Still, did a good job of hounding Battle, who still had 20 points but had to work hard.
● Bill Cole: Drains a three at 16:43 to put Illinois up 8-7. Poor dribble containment of Bill Edwards at 15:59 causes Tisdale to help, leaving Ott open for a layup that makes it 10-9 Illinois. Buries a corner three at 13:19 to put the Illini up 20-9. A great job of sliding into the corner and stepping into that shot by Cole, who is not hesitating when open.
Back in at 8:25.
Starts the second half. Back in at 14 minutes, when he nearly has a soft pass to Richardson stolen. Has a layup off an inbounds play blocked at 12:58, but hustles down the loose ball.
Good job at 10:46 of blocking a Battle three. Gets replaced by Paul but comes in immediately when Paul picks up a holding foul, his fourth. Misses a contested three at 8:51, but Penn State follows up with a three that rims in and out. Comes back on the next possession to his fourth three of the night, out of the corner at 8:26 for a 53-51 Illinois lead.
Nice save of a Babb air ball at 6:21.
Misses a one and one at 2:38 with Illinois up 8. Good closeout on Babb at 1:13, but the PSU sophomore hits a difficult three (getting a friendly roll) to cut the Illinois lead to 69-62.
Overall: An excellent game after getting named a co-captain with McCamey. Scores 12 points on 4-for-5 from three, snares 7 boards, adds 3 assists and 2 blocks (plus no turnovers in 27 minutes). Cole’s best statistical game of the season, at least thus far.
● Tyler Griffey: Gets the start for the struggling Davis. Slow to recover after hedging a screen at 17:00 minutes, thus leaving PSU’s David Jackson open for a three that is made, putting the Nittany Lions’ up 7-5. Misses a reverse half hook at 16:15; after McCamey set him up with a nice dish, he went up a bit soft. Nice job at 14:05 of catching a bullet pass from McCamey and adjusting in the air to make an acrobatic layup and put Illinois up 17-9.
Back in at 8:25. Misses a point-blank layup at 7:38. Was wide open there but seemed a bit rushed and surprised once McCamey hit him with a beautiful pass.
A bit late on help line defense at 19:28, leading to a foul on Jackson, who splits the free throws to cut the Illinois lead to 40-34. Called for an offensive foul, off the ball at 17:36.
Overall: First start of the season, and Illinois got off to a good start with him in the game. Finishes with 2 points, 1 rebounds and 1 turnover in 10 minutes.
● Mike Tisdale: Two possessions, two touches for Tisdale, who couldn’t get a shot off on Illinois’ first possession but hits a baseline half hook at 18:44 to tie the game at 2. Beautiful patience there. Picks up a quick foul, a bump on the driving Ott at 17:33. That was a needless foul, as Ott isn’t any threat with the dribble. A better job on the next Illini defensive possession, as Tisdale slides his feet and the driving Ott throws up a wild shot that fails to graze rim. Good work on the offensive boards at 16:12, cleaning up a Tyler Griffey reverse miss and hitting a righty half hook to put Illinois up 10-7. Nice job of diving off a screen at 15:14 and then throwing down (with his right hand) a lob from McCamey for a 15-9 Illinois lead. Good start for Tisdale, who has 6 points.
Back in at 8:25. Beautiful bounce pass out of the post to a cutting Richardson at 7:58.
Tough break at 18:02 of the second half, seeing his jumper from the wing spin in and out. With that said, a nice job of rolling after screening, and then stepping in and shooting. Gets pushed out by Ott and misses a difficult half hook at 16:57. Ott’s size forced Tisdale a step or two farther away from the basket than he liked. Misses an open baseline jumper against the zone at 16:15, and Paul is called for an offensive board while attacking the glass.
Great job out of the under-16, hitting a half hook at 14:36 to cut the PSU lead to 46-44. Illinois needed that. A good job by the coaching staff of going to Tisdale. Can’t handle a nice pass from Tisdale under the basket at 13:56; seconds later, the Illini will have a 35-second shot clock violation.
Good use of his length to alter a Jones’ shot at 11:22 and then come up with a loose rebound. Nice pass out of the post at 10:51, but Keller can’t hit an open jumper. Bad box out on a missed Babb free throw with 10:35 to go, allowing Jones to get the rebound and score for a 51-48 PSU lead.
Good offensive board off a missed McCamey three at 7:08. Got tied up on the play (needs to be higher with the ball), but the possession arrow remains with Illinois. Misses a half hook at 6:30. No one helps Tisdale at 5:43 as Battle missed a layup contested by the Illini big man but Ott got the rebound and laid it in to cut the Illini lead to 55-53.
Fouled at 1:44 with Illinois up 7 (64-57). Tisdale hits the first of the one and one, and then swooshes the second to put Illinois up 9, at 66-57.
Overall: 10 points, 7 rebounds, 1 assist and 1 block in 33 minutes. Was excellent at times in the first half, but a bit quiet in the second. Did hit a big half hook in the second half as PSU got out to a 4-point lead.
● Mike Davis: In at 13:19 for Griffey. Loses David Jackson on a back cut at 13:01, causing Keller to help out and foul at the rim. Jackson hits two free throws out of the under-16 to make it 20-11 Illinois. Hits a short jumper in the middle of the zone at 11:39, giving Illinois a 22-13 lead. Good to see Davis hit a shot, considering his recent struggles.
A poor job of boxing out at 9:11 as PSU’s Jeff Brooks outworked him for an offensive rebound and tip in, making it 24-17 Illinois. Follows up with an offensive rebound of a long McCamey miss at 8:48 but misses an ensuing jumper from the free throw line elbow. Was definitely open there, but it looked like he slightly hesitated. It is clear that Davis doesn’t have much confidence at this point of the season. A great job of getting back on the other end after his miss, emphatically blocking a Tim Frazier layup attempt at 8:41 and kick starting a fast break during which Paul travels.
Air balls a free throw at 4:42 and then hits the second to put Illinois up 30-26. Picks up a blocking foul at 2:31, leading to the under-4 timeout. A poor job of moving his feet after hedging a screen. Penn State hits both free throws out of the under-4 to make it 36-28 Illinois.
Poor box out at 1:26 extends a PSU possession and results in a Babb three for a 38-31 game in favor of Illinois. Hits a baseline jumper at the halftime horn to put Illinois up 40-33 at the break. A big shot, hopefully one that gets Davis back on track. A great job of stepping in and catching the ball.
In at 17:36 of second half for Griffey.
Hits a tough baseline jumper at 7:57 to put Illinois up 55-51. That was a confident looking shot, a rise and fire if there ever was one.
Hits a tough one-handed floater (off the bounce) at 5:08 to put Illinois up 57-53. A big shot with the shot clock running down. Davis has slowly started to pick it up. Good use of his length at 4:40, altering a driving PSU shot that is missed.
Good trap of Battle at 2:59 forces another Penn State timeout (that’s 2 within the last 3 seconds). Slow to recover on Jackson after a screen, resulting in a Penn State three, a 64-57 Illinois lead, and a PSU timeout.
Fouled at 27.3 seconds and hits 2 free throws to put Illinois up 77-67, the game’s final score.
Overall: A quietly effective game for the benched Davis, who was inactive at times but did finish with 11 points (on 4-for-6 from the field), 8 rebounds, 2 assists, 1 block and 1 turnover in 27 minutes. Maybe seeing the game from the bench will do him better.
● Jeff Jordan: In at 13:19 for Richardson.
Good hustle at 10:32, knocking a loose ball off PSU’s Brooks. Misses a difficult fade away 24 seconds later. Out at 9:52 after fouling Battle.
Misses a tough fade away with the shot clock running down with 47 seconds left in the half. Can’t contain Battle at 15 seconds, resulting in a dribble drive and kick to Jones, who hits a jumper to cut the Illinois lead to 38-33.
In at 17:36 of second half for Richardson.
Overall: 0 points, 1 assist in 13 minutes.
● Brandon Paul: In at 13:19 for Cole. Poor containment of Jeff Brooks at 12:20 results in dribble penetration, an Andrew Jones’ dunk and a 20-13 Illinois lead.
Aggressive baseline dribble and reverse pivot at 11:09 frees Paul up for a shot that he buries to give Illinois a 24-13 lead. Picks up a charge on a fast break at 8:30. Was out of control with the ball there and took off way too early. Crispin makes a good point, saying that the freshman needs to slow down.
Nice job of filling the wing at 4:11 and hitting a secondary three to put Illinois up 33-26. Another beautiful assist from McCamey. Hits a difficult three with the shot clock at 1 with 2:58 left to put Illinois up 36-26.
At 1:53, hits another shot as the shot clock was expiring. A great job of faking use of a Tisdale screen and then using the dribble (rather than settling for a three) to create some space for a mid-range jumper that was splashed, putting Illinois up 38-28. That’s 10 points for Paul in the first half.
In at 17:36 of second half for Cole. Slow to closeout on Babb at 15:40, resulting in a three and a 44-42 lead in favor of PSU. Fell asleep for half-a-second and it cost him. Follows up with poor shot selection, missing a three from the top of the key. That shot was not within the context of the offense.
After a great first half, Paul looks like a freshman in the second half, losing his man in the lane at 14:26, which forces Tisdale to help and Paul to foul Jones down low. Jones hits one of two free throws to make it 47-44 PSU. Paul is then replaced by Cole.
Back in at 10:43 and immediately commits a silly holding foul off the ball. Paul with four fouls and PSU is in the bonus. Paul gets replaced, and Babb splits one of two free throws to make it 49-48 PSU.
Back in at 2:34 for Cole. Rebounds a Battle free throw that is missed. Fouled at 1:36 and misses both free throws, keeping Penn State in this game. Battle quickly gets into the lane, misses, gets a rebound and is fouled at 1:25. Battle misses the first and the second as Cole comes up with the rebound.
Commits a terrible foul at 1:12, with Illinois up 8. Fouls out on the play and puts Penn State on the line with the clock stopped. That’s a freshman mistake folks. Battle hits both free throws to make it 70-64 Illinois.
Overall: 10 points, 3 rebounds, 1 turnover and 5 fouls in 14 minutes. Had a great half, hitting some big shots late in the shot clock and finishing with 10 points in the first 20 minutes. Looked like a freshman in the second half, especially in terms of committing some very silly fouls.
● Dominique Keller: In at 13:19 for Tisdale.
In at 13:00 of second half for Davis. Draws a foul at 12:48 as McCamey breaks down the defense and Keller was hit on the shot attempt. Keller makes both free throws to cut the Illini deficit to 47-46. Nice job of coming up with a difficult PSU pass at 12:39. However, Keller is too carefree with the ball at 12:20, as he has the ball stripped from him in the half court. Keller fouls Jeff Brooks on a layup attempt after the steal. Brooks hits one of two free throws to put PSU up 48-46.
Nice job out of the under-12, hitting a tough turnaround jumper in the lane to tie the game at 48 with 11:38. Good patience there. When Keller is patient with his offense, he usually scores. Misses an open jumper at 10:51, following a nice pass out of the post by Tisdale. Looked flat-footed there, and had no lift.
Back in around 5 minutes for Tisdale. Hits a huge turnaround jumper at 4 minutes to put Illinois up 59-53. A big shot with the shot clock running down again.
Overall: Makes up for quiet first half with a nice second half, scoring 6 points in 7 minutes and hitting a couple of big shots.
● Bruce Weber: Illinois leads 20-9 at 13:19 as Penn State takes a timeout following a 10-0 run. There has been no under-16 timeout due to crisp play. Illinois is looking great on offense, with McCamey running the show and his fellow Illini looking to shoot. Tisdale, Richardson, and Cole all have six points, and Griffey has also scratched. The only guy who hasn’t is McCamey, who’s totally controlling this game with his penetration and passing ability. Illinois is doing a great job of running patient offense. The Illini have 4 threes already. Can’t ask for a better start from the Illini, coming off 3 straight conference losses and when considering how difficult the Bryce Jordan Center has recently been for the Illini.
Illinois is up 22-13 at the under-12. A few breakdowns defensively from the second unit lead to Penn State buckets, but Illinois continues its hot shooting with Mike Davis hitting a jumper. There has not been a turnover on both sides yet. This doesn’t look like a typical Illinois-Penn State game. Illinois is shooting 77%, and Battle hasn’t taken a shot yet. Very nice.
Illinois leads 26-17 at the under-8. The offense wasn’t as good with the second unit, but Penn State is continuing to miss shots.
Illinois leads 36-26 at the under-4, regaining its composure after a quick PSU run (sparked by Battle) cut the game to 28-26. After Battle hit three consecutive threes, Paul has responded with back-to-back threes, and the Illini are a whopping 7-for-11 from three. Really like the patience and composure of the offense thus far.
Illinois leads 40-33 at the break. McCamey with 0 points but 8 assists. Paul with 10 points on 4-for-4 shooting. The Illini actually look like a focused and hungry team tonight. Credit Weber’s decision to have the team elect captains for the rest of the season. The new captains – McCamey and Cole – have been great, and seemingly have taken their distinguished roles onto the court. A very impressive performance on the road thus far. Illinois is running patient offense and hitting shots late in the shot clock. With the exception of Battle’s 9-0 run on 3 straight threes, the defense has been better (excluding the occasional containment and defensive rebounding breakdown).
Here are some key halftime stats: Illinois is shooting 57% from the field; Penn State 46%. The Illini are 7/11 from three; Penn State 5/11. Illinois is up five on the boards (16 to 11) and up 9 in bench points (15 to 6). Illinois has 3 turnovers (not bad on the road) while PSU with just 1. Despite McCamey not scoring in the first half, Illinois is up 23-16 in backcourt scoring, with Paul and Richardson doing the job.
Illinois leads 42-41 at 16:39 as Penn State has come out with better offensive urgency and execution, forcing Illinois into a timeout. The Illini have been a step slow defensively. After starting the half out with a nice possession, the Illini have had 4 straight unsuccessful trips. Penn State is picking it up on both ends, and Illinois has slacked off just a bit. Good timeout by Weber.
Illinois is down 46-42 at the under-16 as Penn State has gone on a 12-0 run in the last 4 minutes. The Illini have been outscored 13-2 in the first four minute segments. Give credit to Penn State, which is running great offense, specifically through Battle. On the other hand, Illinois has missed a couple of tough shots, but lacked the unique combination of offensive patience/urgency that was seen in the first half. This game is eerily reminiscent to the recent Purdue loss, where Illinois led at the break only to see the Boilermakers storm out and take a lead by the under-16. Time to refocus here. Illinois is shooting 17% for the half; Penn State 71%.
Illinois is down 48-46 at the under-12. To the credit of the Illini, they are looking to get the ball on the interior. Tisdale has been fouled several times, and McCamey is doing a good job of getting into the lane and setting up his teammates. Still, Penn State is a bit hungrier than the Illini.
Illinois leads 55-51 at the under-8 as Illinois has suddenly responded with a 5-0 run in the last minute after scoring just 10 points in the first 10 minutes of the second half. Illinois certainly has to feel a bit lucky as Penn State had some tough luck on three straight possessions (Battle fumbled a layup on the break, Brooks missed an open three, and Battle had a three rim in and out). Illinois has finally woken up after looking a bit lackadaisical on offense in the second half. Got to hate that Illinois split personality.
Weber takes a good timeout at 5:33, with Illinois leading 55-53. The Illini have failed to extend its lead due to some quick shots and sloppy play, but Penn State has been unable to convert some unlucky looks. Illinois is somehow still up in this game, though the Illini haven’t done much in the second half.
Weber comes out of the timeout with Keller for Tisdale, who is a bit worn out. Davis will score on a one-handed push shot and Keller will respond on the next possession with a turnaround jumper.
Illinois leads 59-53 at the under-4. Credit Weber tonight. Even when Illinois got down, the Illini have generally not rushed or panicked and rather run patient offense that has used the shot clock. Davis and Keller have hit two shots late in the shot clock to extend the Illini lead to 6. Can Illinois hold on? Weber has been preaching toughness from his team; now would be a great time to show some! Illinois with a 11-2 run in the last 7:10.
At 3:02, Penn State takes a timeout as Illinois trapped Frazier in the corner. Penn State is struggling to score. Not sure if it’s due to Illinois defense or just missing shots. A combination of both, I suppose, as Illinois’ defensive activity has been much better and Penn State has missed some good looks. Amazingly, Illinois forces another PSU timeout at 2:59 as Davis does a good job of trapping Battle, who was falling out of bounds. Illinois forces a shot clock violation out of this timeout as Babb missed everything on a desperation three.
Illinois is up 68-62 with 1:13 to go after a Babb three and Penn State timeout. Illinois has two timeouts left.
Illinois wins 77-67, snapping a three-game losing streak. The Illini don’t make it easy in the final minute, missing some free throws and committing some silly fouls, but come away with a much-needed win nonetheless.
Overall: Give credit to Weber, who pushed the right buttons before the game (letting the team assume some leadership by electing co-captains) and during it (benching Davis for Griffey; getting Keller in the game late). I really liked Weber’s game plan, which called for patient offense. Illinois hit big shots all night when the shot clock was down. While the offense wasn’t as good in the second half, Illinois remained tough and persevered.
Overall: Illinois wins 77-67, with the final outcome not indicative of how close this game was. With the exception of a slow start to the second half, I liked Illinois’ grittiness in this game, which wasn’t always pretty but was more impressive than the earlier victory against PSU at the Assembly Hall. Illinois was especially tough with the shot clock running down, with Paul, McCamey and Keller all hitting some clutch shots.
Play of the Game: With 1:57 left in the game, McCamey hits his first field goal of the game, a nasty three with the shot clock running down. McCamey’s big shot puts Illinois up 10, and the Illini are able to hold on.
Player of the Game: Richardson, who hit some big free throws late to allow Illinois to hold onto the game and pad his final scoring line of 20 points. A very solid game for the freshman on the road.
Some Things I Liked:
● Weber’s game plan (a lot of post touches)
● Weber putting some onus on his players prior to the game, having them select captains.
● Weber benching the struggling Davis for Griffey.
● Davis responding with some big shots in the second half.
● McCamey’s floor game in the first half.
● Richardson’s overall game.
● Nice sparks off the bench (Paul in the first half, Keller in the second half).
● Illinois’ toughness when the game could have been lost.
Some Things I Didn’t Like:
● Another poor start to the second half, when the Illini saw a lead quickly fall to the wayside.
● Illinois making things interesting late, with bad fouls and missed free throws.
Well, that’s it for another Illini Tale of the Tape.
Up next: some Demetri McCamey heroics against Indiana.
Topics: Bill Cole, Brandon Paul, Bruce Weber, Bryce Jordan Center, D.J. Richardson, David Jackson, Demetri McCamey, Dominique Keller, Ed Dechellis, Illini Basketball, Illinois Basketball, Jeff Jordan, Mike Davis, Mike Tisdale, Penn State Basketball, Penn State Nittany Lions, Talor Battle, Tyler Griffey, U-of-I Basketball, University Of Illinois