The Illinois Fighting Illini were thinking pink but seeing red when the Indiana Hoosiers traveled to the Assembly Hall on January 30th.
Donned in pink uniforms for cancer awareness, the Illini were engaged in a nip-and-tuck affair with the scrappy Hoosiers before junior Demetri McCamey would put the team on his back with some buzzer-beating heroics.
Where I Was for This Game: Coaching my eighth grade basketball team (we would get hammered on this day against a team that looked like pros). Anyways, I saw a bit of the first half before traveling to my game. I listed on the radio as the Illini began to lose momentum at the end of the first half and turned off the broadcast with about 10 minutes to go and Indiana up a couple of points. On the way back from my team’s discouraging loss, I was happy to hear that the Illini won on a last-second buzzer beater from McCamey.
What I Remember from This Game:
● The replays of McCamey’s game-winning shot.
● The Illini donning themselves in white and pink uniforms for cancer awareness.
● Illinois having a seemingly comfortable lead at the end of the first half, only to see Indiana storm back to tie the game at the break.
What Stood Out/Surprised Me Upon A Second Viewing:
● Forgot that the IU-Illini telecast was delayed by a Marquette-UCONN game during which the Golden Eagles’ Jimmy Butler hit a last second jumper to shock the Huskies in Storrs (perhaps some foreshadowing for the Illini).
● Totally slipped my mind that Tom Crean was dressed more casual than usual in this game, wearing a sweat suit in recognition of cancer awareness.
● Remembered that Indiana stormed back at the end of the half but forgot that Devan Dumes hit a half-court shot at the halftime horn to tie the game. When seeing this again, I can remember back to the moment I heard this on the radio and dropped an F-bomb.
● Did not realize that Davis was benched for 12 minutes in the second half. He would come in around the 8 minute mark and actually provide a nice spark.
● In the last six games, McCamey had been on the floor 93% of the game, approximately 224 minutes.
● Also coming into this game, McCamey was accounting for 47% of the Illinois offense. He would score his 1,000th point in this game, along with the game-winning floater.
● Prior to this scare against Indiana, Illinois was 10-1 at home in the season.
Before we examine this IU-Illinois game, let’s revisit the previous meeting between the teams on January 9th. Down 15 points at one time in the second half, the sleeping Illini woke up when it mattered, coming back thanks to the efforts of McCamey, Mike Tisdale and D.J. Richardson, who hit a big jumper late to put Illinois up after Jeff Jordan secured a big offensive rebound. Though Illinois could have easily lost this game, the Illini escaped with a 66-60 win. For more on this previous game, see Illini Tale of the Tape: Illinois vs. Indiana Hoosiers (January 9, 2010).
Indiana Hoosiers (9-10, 3-4) vs. Illinois Fighting Illini (13-8, 5-3)
G Verdell Jones III, G Jeremiah Rivers, F Derek Elston, F Tom Pritchard, F Christian Watford.
Mike Davis remains on the bench for the Illini, which starts McCamey, D.J. Richardson, Bill Cole, Tyler Griffey and Mike Tisdale.
Announcers: Dave O’Brien and Steve Lavin.
Lavin notes that this is a must-win for the Illini, which can’t afford to fall back 4 games in the conference. At the time, Michigan State was leading the Big Ten with an 8-0 record.
Note: ESPN picked up this game with 16:58 to go in the first half, with the Illini leading 7-4. Illinois had two assists on its first two field goals, and had yet to commit a turnover.
● Demetri McCamey: Misses a curl three at 16:21; nice square up following the off-the-ball movement. Travels at 16:18, trying to go too fast on the break. Great attack at 14:33, going to the basket and scoring a layup immediately after a ball screen from Griffey. McCamey has come out aggressive (looking to push) while giving the Illini an 11-6 lead.
Nice rebound of a missed Dumes’ three at 12:33, and ensuing push ahead and assist to a streaking Keller for a dunk. McCamey threaded the needle on that one-handed bounce pass. Catches a break on the next defensive possession as he is slow to close out on Hulls, who misses a three.
More great court vision and passing at 10:20, hitting the streaking Davis for a dunk.
Buries an open three at 6:53, putting Illinois up 24-15 and leading to a 30-second IU timeout. Nice head fake and pass from Cole, who assisted on the three. Picks up a terrible foul at 6:30, fouling an IU player after a three-point shot. Illinois catches a break as Indiana will not shoot any free throws; the refs ruled that the foul occurred way after the shot, when the IU player had already come down to the ground. Hits a tough jumper over Derek Elston at 5:23 to put Illinois up 28-15. Had a mismatch there and was licking his chops, crossing over the Hoosier forward several times before burying the jumper.
Great find out of the under-4, as McCamey hits the rolling Griffey off the screen game for a dunk and 32-20 lead with 3:24 to go in the first half. Poor containment of Verdell Jones III at 3:14, who gets into the lane, hits a runner and draws a blocking foul on the late Griffey. Jones hits the free throw to cut the Illinois lead to 32-23. After hitting Keller for a layup and a 34-25 lead, McCamey picks up his second foul on a driving Jones. McCamey is replaced as Jones makes the first but misses the second. However, Indiana gets the offensive board, and Jones hits a quick three to make it 34-29 Illinois.
Nice crossover and left-handed layup at 19:01 is negated by a charging call. That’s three fouls on McCamey. Is clearly angry, as he aggressively drives to the hoop at 18:22, drawing a foul and hitting two free throws to tie the game at 38. Lavin makes a good point: Illinois needs to get back to moving the ball and taking smart shots, the things that got them in the lead. Awful defense at 18:10, allowing no resistance to Rivers, who pulls up and hits a mid-range jumper to give IU a 40-38 lead. Nearly travels on the next possession but keeps his footing, ultimately getting to the basket and slamming home the ball for a 40-40 game. That’s McCamey’s 1,000th career point at Illinois. Follows up with an assist to Richardson at 17:13, leading to a 42-40 game and an IU timeout.
Splits two free throws at 16:08 after Watford was called for a technical. Illinois leads 45-40. Beautiful bounce pass assist, off a curl screen, to Tisdale at 15 minutes puts Illinois up 47-43.
Rushes and badly misses a baseline jumper at 13:54 after IU tied the game at 47. Is slow to get back and closeout on Jones, who hits a three for a 50-47 IU lead. Poor effort there by McCamey, who let his frustration over that missed jumper carry over into his defense there. Gets replaced by Jordan at 13:18.
Back in at 12:42 as IU has extended its lead to 53-47.
Hits a tough three with the shot clock winding down and the game clock at 9:19 to cut the IU lead to 55-54. That’s Illinois’ first basket in nearly 6 minutes. Slow to recover off a screen on Jones at 9:04. Jones blows by Tisdale for a scooping layup and a 60-57 Illinois deficit. Bad turnover at 7:40, getting on the break and leaving his feet too early. His pass to a streaking Mike Davis is easily stolen by IU. Makes another dangerous pass at 7:28 on a sloppy Illinois break, trying to one-hand a pass against the current motion of his body to Richardson in the corner. Luckily, Richardson was fouled on the play. Weber is not happy with McCamey’s recent decision making, and you can’t blame him.
Hits a difficult reverse layup at 5:11 to cut the IU lead to 63-61. Hung in the air there, with Lavin saying that it was reminiscent of the Dr. (J that is, not Pepper).
Out of the under-4, McCamey takes a timeout at 3:34 after picking up his dribble and getting trapped.
Nice closeout on a Dumes’ air ball from three at 1:51. Pritchard can’t save the ball without stepping out of bounds. Turns the ball over at 22.9 seconds with some sloppy dribbling, and Richardson fouls Rivers on the play. Poor handles by McCamey as the Illini were clinging to a 72-70 lead.
Out of a timeout with 4.4 seconds left, McCamey inbounds to Cole, gets the ball back and then hits a floater at the horn for a 72-70 Illinois win.
Overall: 19 points, 8 assists, 1 rebound and 4 turnovers in 36 minutes. Was brilliant passing the ball at times, but had some sloppy turnovers in spurts, including late in regulation. However, he makes up for the gaffe with the game winner, ensuring that Illinois held serve against the Hoosiers.
● D.J. Richardson: Great job of getting on the floor for a loose ball at 16:21, with the ball getting knocked to Tyler Griffey. Nice foot movement and containment at 15:59, forcing a tough Jeremiah Rivers shot that is missed. Nice attack off the dribble and scoop shot attempt at 15:12; the shot was a bit long as Richardson was going too quick, though it was nice to see him attack off the bounce as opposed to settling for a three.
Back in at 10 minutes. Travels at 9:37 after McCamey made a nice baseline move and feed to Richardson at the top of the key. He probably should have shot the three there. Called for a bumping foul at 7:54, leading to the under-8 timeout.
Draws a foul on the break at 7:28. Got bumped on the play, though it looked like he may have traveled. Hits two free throws to put Illinois up 21-15.
Misses a quick transition pull up at 43.2 seconds left. Not sure if Illinois wanted that shot there. Poor containment of Jones leads to a layup and 36-33 Illinois lead with 5 seconds left. Then has the ball stripped from him at half court by Dumes, who banks in a half court three at the buzzer to tie the game at 36.
A great job of running the court at 17:13 is paid off when McCamey finds him for a layup. Illinois leads 42-20, and Indiana takes a timeout.
Is unable to secure a dribble handoff from Tisdale at 14 minutes, and IU’s Dumes steals the ball and dunks it home to tie the game at 47. Lavin notes that Richardson’s youthfulness is hurting the Illini tonight.
Misses the front end of a one-and-one out of the under-8 timeout. Gets fouled by Copobianco at 5:49 while boxing out after a missed Jones’ layup. Splits the one and one to make it 61-59 IU. Bumps Rivers with 22.9 seconds left, after McCamey lost the ball. Rivers will shoot two as Illinois clings to a 72-70 lead. Weber takes a timeout to ice Rivers, but the son of Doc hits two to tie the game at 72.
Overall: 8 points, 2 rebounds, 2 steals and 4 turnovers in 30 minutes. Usually solid at the Assembly Hall, Richardson was a bit shaky in this game, especially late in the first half as IU made its comeback.
● Bill Cole: Slow to recover on Jordan Hulls at 14:15, who buries a corner three to cut the Illini lead to 11-9. That play broke down when Richardson and Tisdale played a screen and roll game at the top. Tisdale stayed with the IU defender who was screened and Richardson followed. No one picked up the screener, and Illinois was caught helping the entire time as Indiana quickly moved the ball from one side to the other.
Misses a spinning bank shot at 6:04 as Illinois was on the break. Was fouled on the play, and hits both free throws to put Illinois up 26-15.
Picks up a defensive foul on first possession of the second half, during a rebound attempt o f a missed Jones’ three. Indiana is clearly the aggressor, as Copobianco scores on the ensuing possession off the screen and roll game with Jones. Indiana now leads 38-36. Nice defensive rebounds of a Jones’ miss at 18:28. Nice help defense at 17:18, stealing an Elston pass.
Back in at 10 minutes.
Nice block of a driving Jones with 1 second on the shot clock at 4:35. Cole then loses Pritchard on the inbounds and fouls the IU big man. Pritchard splits the free throws to make it 64-61 IU. Hits a huge three at 4 minutes on the dot to tie the game at 64. Big bailout shot there as McCamey got caught in the air again.
Gets beat off the dribble by Jones at 2:46, and fouls the IU guard at the rim. Jones hits both free throws to tie the game at 66.
Overall: 8 points, 4 rebounds and 2 assists in 29 minutes. Didn’t have as good of a game as his previous one against Penn State, but Cole has slowly but surely making himself more of an offensive threat out there. Hit a big three late to tie the game.
● Tyler Griffey: Nice job of making himself available underneath the basket at 15:47 and then finishing a reverse layup to put Illinois up 9-4. Buys a Jordan Hulls’ head fake at 14:44, resulting in a floater and a 9-6 Illinois lead. Hits a tough one-handed floater in the lane to put Illinois up 13-9. Haven’t seen that move from Griffey, who caught the ball behind the three-point line in the corner and then used two dribbles to get into the lane. A nice play, and strong penetration from Richardson on the ensuing pass to Griffey.
Back in at 9:17. Misses an open baseline jumper at 8:36 after Illinois did a great job of getting the ball into the middle of the zone and moving it from that point. A great job of getting back after this miss and blocking a Dumes’ shot on the break. Nice finish at the rim at 3:56 off a brilliant Paul pass puts Illinois up 30-20.
Two-handed dunk out of the under-4, set up off the screen and roll game with McCamey, puts Illinois up 32-20 with 3:24 to go. Replaced at 3:10, after committing a blocking foul on the driving Jones. Gets a nice hand from the crowd.
Nice high-low pass to Tisdale at 16:09 leads to a bucket and a 44-40 Illinois lead. Tries to save an errant pass at 15:24, but throws the ball to Dumes, who gets on the break and buries a ridiculous three to cut the Illinois lead to 45-43. Commits his third foul, on the driving Jones, leading to the under-16. Jones hits both free throws out of the timeout to cut the Illinois lead to 47-45.
Back in for Keller at 10 minutes. Catches a break when he goes for an Elston head fake at the three-point line. Elston travels on the ensuing dribble move to the basket. Misses a difficult three-point shot (bad shot selection) at 8:42, and then fails to get down the court, picking up his fourth foul as Watford got on the break and was fouled from behind. Watford hits both free throws to put IU up 59-54, and Griffey is replaced with Davis.
Overall: 9 points, 4 rebounds, 2 assists and 1 turnover in 20 minutes. Got a lot of time tonight in his second game as a starter. While his defense needs work (as evidenced by his four fouls), Griffey had a nice scoring game and solid effort. That’s a perfect word to describe his overall approach to the game: solid.
● Mike Tisdale: Great court vision at 15:47, hitting Tyler Griffey with a two-handed, over-the-head pass from the top of the key.
Called for an offensive foul at 10:59, when setting a screen on Jeremiah Rivers. His first foul (Tisdale tends to pick up those needless fouls).
Back in at 7:25 for Davis. Nice block of a driving Rivers and 6:30, and then follows up at 6:14 by blocking Verdell Jones III. Picks up an over-the-back foul at 4:30 after McCamey missed an open floater in the lane. That’s two on Tisdale. Is replaced by Davis. Indiana’s Bobby Capobianco hits two free throws to cut the Illinois lead to 28-20.
A great job of sliding his feet at 16:46, blocking a Watford shot and knocking the ball off the IU freshman. Nice post and catch out of the high low results in a layup (Tisdale’s first hoop of the game) and a 44-40 Illinois lead at 16:09. Does a great job of getting back and altering two IU shots before Richardson is called for a foul. After the play, Indiana’s Christian Watford is called for a technical after saying something to McCamey. Strong dunk at 15 minutes puts Illinois up 47-43. Fails to box out Tom Pritchard at 14:44, who gets the offensive board and feeds Jones, who is fouled on a drive that leads to the under-16 timeout.
Can’t get back to recover on Elston at 12:55 and the IU freshman hits a three to put Indiana up 53-47. Tough break for the Illini as Dumes went baseline, lost the ball, recovered it and hit Elston. Tisdale was under the basket helping and couldn’t cover that much ground. Keller couldn’t come up with the loose ball after Dumes lost it as well, and the ball actually hit the underside of the basket. It should have been out of bounds to IU, but the refs missed the call, leading to the Elston three. With all that said, Indiana is simply outworking the Illini right now.
Called for a foul at 12:13 after McCamey allowed penetration by Jones. Tisdale with three fouls. Terrible communication at 12:04, failing to alert Jordan of an oncoming ball screen. Jordan gets laid out by a perfectly legal Copobianco screen and the Illini catch a break when Hulls misses a corner three.
Hits a big baseline hook at 8:16, cutting the Illinois deficit to 59-56.
Misses a jump hook at 6:47 and can’t secure the rebound. Lavin makes a good point, saying that Tisdale needs to be tougher. Picks up his fourth foul at 6:31 as Watford crashes the boards after a missed Jones’ layup. Watford hits both free throws to make it 61-56 IU. Tisdale is replaced with Keller. Back in at 4:24 for Keller.
Gets fouled at 3:19 after Davis made a nice pass on the interior. Tisdale nearly had the ball stripped there and wasn’t strong enough. Got the foul call though, and Tisdale hits both free throws to put Illinois up 66-64. Tisdale is replaced with Keller due to his 4 fouls. Illinois has its first lead since 47-45.
Is back in after Jones’ free throws tie the game at 66. Gets a huge offensive rebound of a Cole miss and then immediately hits a half hook to put Illinois up 68-66 with 2:09 to go. Lavin says “You can’t teach 7-feet.” After an IU miss and timeout, Tisdale turns the ball over out of the post with 1:33 to go. Davis gave Tisdale a bad post entry, but as Lavin noted earlier, Tisdale needs to be like vice grips and have control of the ball before making that pass. Gets fouled over the back on a questionable call while going for a Davis rebound, and then hits two free throws with 1 minute left to put Illinois up 70-66.
Overall: 12 points, 7 rebounds, 1 assist, 3 blocks and 3 turnovers in 30 minutes. Did not have a field goal in the first half, but had a nice bounce-back performance in the second 20 minutes. Wasn’t as good as the first time these two teams played, but did a good again of causing problems with his length. Three turnovers is a bit high for Tisdale, who came up with a couple of big plays late to help the Illini pull this game out.
● Brandon Paul: In out of under-16. Badly misses a corner three at 12:39 as Indiana has thrown some zone at the Illini. Nice offensive rebound of a missed Jordan three at 11:06, leading to the under-12.
Good idea at 9:17, trying to hit Davis under the basket off a screen and roll. However, the pass is too high, and the Illini turn it over for the fourth time. A little late at 8:54 as Dumes hits a three to cut the Illini lead to 17-15. A great play by Indiana, which posted Rivers on the smaller Jordan. Rivers kicked the ball across the court to Dumes, who stepped in and buried the shot. Good attack of the offensive board at 8:36, nearly tipping in a missed Griffey baseline jumper.
Nice offensive rebound of a missed Griffey turnaround at 4:07, but has his put back attempted knocked out of bounds. Follows up with a beautiful assist to Griffey, who makes a layup at 3:57 to put Illinois up 30-20. Nice patience there from Paul, who drew a double and then hit Griffey under the rim.
Sloppy reverse pass at 2:45 is nearly stolen. Nice dunk off a lob pass from Jordan at 1:58 extends the Illini lead to 36-29. Strong defensive rebound at 1:47 off a Jones’ miss. Air balls an open three at 1:11.
In for Richardson at 13:13. Nice steal of an Indiana inbounds pass at 12:13 and draws the foul on the break. Was certainly out of control but caught a break there with the whistle. Was playing way too fast there. Anyways, Paul hits both free throws to make it 53-49 in favor of IU.
Misses a curling jumper off an inbounds play out of the under-12. Can’t box out two Hoosiers (where’s the help?) as Dumes misses a three but Elston crashes the board and lays it in for a 55-49 IU lead with 11:15 to go.
Overall: 4 points (on 1-for-6 from the field), 6 rebounds, 1 assist and 1 turnover in 11 minutes. Not a very stable game from Paul, who did a good job of being active on the boards. Of the three Illini freshman, Griffey clearly was better than D.J. and Paul on this night.
● Mike Davis: In out of the under-16. Slow to close out on Hulls at 13:12, and the Indiana guard hits a three to cut the Illinois lead to 13-12. Misses an open jumper in the middle of the 2-3 zone at 11:38.
A nice job of running the floor at 10:20, as McCamey finds him open for a two-hand slam and a 17-12 Illinois lead. Nice baseline jumper (one-handed push shot) at 8 minutes puts Illinois up 19-15. The Illini are doing a great job of getting into the middle of the zone and moving the ball, with Griffey hitting Davis on that play.
Commits a cardinal sin at 2:55, fouling Jones III on the elbow during a three-point shot. Actually, it was a long two. Jones hits both free throws to cut the Illinois lead to 32-25. Lazy box out on Copobianco at 2:19 leads to a Jones’ three after a missed Jones’ free throw.
In for the first time in the second half at 8:30 after Griffey picks up his fourth foul. O’Brien has said that the struggling Davis has been MIA. Lavin makes a good point, saying that Davis needs to be active defensively to get his offense going. Davis comes in and makes a nice high-low feed to Tisdale, who hits a baseline hook at 8:16 to cut the IU lead to 59-56.
Nice defensive rebound of a Watford miss at 7 minutes. Finally, an Illini is able to clear the boards as IU has seemingly been everywhere on the offensive glass in the second half. Hits a big shot, a one-handed pusher off the bounce, at 6:16 to cut the Illinois deficit to 61-58.
After a bad post feed to Tisdale leads to an IU break, Davis does a good job of getting back and blocking a Jones shot off the backboard at 1:28. The ball stays with IU as Illinois clings to a 68-66 lead, but Davis gets a steal on the ensuing inbounds pass. Misses an open jumper at 1 minute, but Tisdale is fouled over the back by Rivers. That was a bad foul call.
Overall: 6 points, 2 rebounds, 1 assist, 1 block and 1 steal in 19 minutes. Benched for the second straight game. Had a few nice plays in the first half, but was not active enough on defense. His two boards for the game is evident of that, and unacceptable for his rebounding abilities. Did not get back in the game until around the 8 minute mark of the second half. To his credit, he played with better urgency as he finished out the game, assisting on a Tisdale score, hitting a big shot to keep Illinois in the game, and coming up with a late block and steal. The Illini need Davis to snap out of his recent funk.
● Dominique Keller: In out of under-16. Picks up a foul at 13:20 as Illinois fails to box out. Good job of running the court and slamming the ball after a Devan Dumes missed three, giving Illinois a 15-12 lead. Picks up an off-the-ball foul at 12:12; that’s two quick fouls on Keller, who is replaced by Tisdale.
Back in at 3:10 for Griffey. Misses a quick half hook 8 seconds letter. Hits a layup at 2:28 after McCamey found him underneath. Great find by McCamey, whose assist puts Illinois up 34-25. Good head fake frees up a quick shot that is missed on the baseline at 1:30, and leads to an Indiana break in which Rivers feeds Capobianco for a 36-31 game in favor of Illinois. Nice help defense and block of a Christian Watford shot at 50 seconds.
In out of the under-16 for Griffey.
Nice offensive rebound of a missed Tisdale jumper at 10:38, drawing a foul on the put back. Keller misses the first free throw as O’Brien says that the Illini are scuffling. Keller then misses the second free throw. Illinois really is scuffling as Lavin talks about Illinois’ NCAA Tournament aspirations.
In at 6:20 for Tisdale, who has four fouls. Is slow to move his feet at 5:28, as Watford beats him into the lane and hits a half hook to put IU up 63-59.
Overall: 4 points, 2 rebounds, 2 blocks and 1 steal in 12 minutes. Didn’t like his approach to this game. Rushed some shots and was thinking too much offense. Defensively, picked up 2 quick fouls early in the first half that sent him sitting for most of the first 20 minutes. Like many Illini, is failing to find the consistency.
● Jeff Jordan: In out of under-16.
Picks up a tough call at 10 minutes. After IU’s Derek Elston missed a three, Jordan grabbed the board. It looked like Elston ran through him, but Jordan was called for the foul for some reason.
In at 2:24 for McCamey (who has two fouls). Makes a great no-look lob to Paul, who dunks the ball down at 1:58 to put Illinois up 36-29.
In at 13:18 for McCamey. Gets an offensive rebound off a missed Tisdale jumper but is called for traveling when he falls down.
After a Dumes’ travel, Hulls is called for holding Jordan at 10:17. Illinois is in the bonus, and Jordan hits both free throws to cut the IU lead to 55-51.
Called for an off-the-ball foul with 49.3 seconds left. Jordan held on to Jones while Pritchard set a screen. Jones hits both free throws to cut the Illinois lead to 70-68.
Overall: 2 points, 1 rebound, 1 assist and 1 turnover in 13 minutes.
● Bruce Weber: Illinois leads 13-9 at the under-16. Lavin hits it on the head, saying that both teams are playing “brother-in-law defense” (i.e. providing no resistance). McCamey has come out looking to push the tempo, and Illinois has gotten some easy baskets. The same goes for Indiana, which has outworked the Illini on the offensive glass during the last few possessions. More specifically, the Illini have failed to box out the pesky 5’10’’ Jordan Hulls.
Illinois leads 15-12 at the under-12. Indiana’s Hulls (8 points) is off to another quick start, just like the first game between these teams in Bloomington. Illinois is only 1-for-6 from three, but up 3. It will be important for Illinois to attack the middle of the 2-3 zone and not fall in love with hoisting up threes. Like the Penn State game, Weber has been subbing 4 guys in at a time with his second unit, bringing Paul, Jordan, Keller and Davis in for every starter except McCamey (who is logging a lot of minutes).
Illinois leads 19-15 at the under-8 timeout, as this game has hardly been a work of art thus far. The refs are calling it tight as IU has 7 fouls and Illinois is fast approaching that number. Illinois has done a good job of moving the ball against the IU zone, specifically in terms of getting the ball into the middle of the zone. The Hoosiers have been getting looks but not hitting, going 4:20 without a field goal before a Dumes’ three. Both teams have failed to establish a rhythm, due to the fouling and some turnovers.
Illinois leads 30-20 at the under-4. Illinois is starting to have its way with Indiana, which went back to a man defense after the Illini got into the middle of the zone. Defensively, the Illini haven’t been great but have been active enough. Before a Hulls’ three cut the game to 28-18, Indiana almost went another 4 minutes without a basket. Illinois has a good opportunity to put the young Hoosiers down 14-16 at halftime. Big couple of minutes here.
Weber takes a good timeout at 1:25 as IU has cut the game to 36-31. The Hoosiers are making a push here and scoring with little resistance from the Illini, which have been rushing some shots offensively (specifically Keller). Indiana has finally found some rhythm, and this game is a lot closer than it probably should be.
Anyways, Paul air balls a three at 1:11. That couldn’t have been the shot Illinois wanted. The Illini freshman (Paul and Richardson) really hurt the Illini in the final minute. Richardson forced a shot at 47 seconds, failed to contain Jones with 5 seconds left and then got the ball stripped from him by Dumes, who hit a half court shot at the buzzer to tie the game at 36.
Amazingly, this game is tied at 36 at the break. Illinois was up 12 with 3:20 to go, but IU finished on a 16-4 run. Jones III picked up his game, and the Illini certainly aided and abetted the Hoosiers with some terrible decision making (i.e. rushed shots from Keller, Richardson and Paul). What should have been a nice lead at the half is now a tie as a result of the Illini not playing in the last couple of minutes. Illinois now has a ball game on its hands.
Some key first half stats: Indiana was +12 and +11 in points from three-point field goals and the bench, respectively. Indiana was 6-for-15 from three; Illinois 2-for-8 in the first half.
Indiana takes a timeout at 17:13 as Illinois leads 42-40. The Illini are on a quick 4-0 run as McCamey has been really aggressive at the start of the half, scoring four points (including a massive dunk) and assisting on a Richardson bucket.
Illinois leads 47-43 at the under-16 as this game is getting testy. Both teams are playing with great energy. After IU carried some of its first-half momentum into the second-half, Illinois responded with a 7-0 run. IU fought back though. McCamey and Dumes are playing with great determination for their respective team. Illinois is doing a better job of looking to get Tisdale involved offensively; with that said, the Illinois center is doing a good job of using his length to be a nuisance on the defensive end of the court.
The refs stop play at 12:55 after IU has hit two straight threes to take a 53-47 lead. They want to check if the last shot was a three, and it was. Illinois looks a step slow defensively as of late. Give credit to the young Indiana team: it is playing with great composure and urgency during this 8-0 run. Illinois has looked frazzled. Weber has not gone to the struggling Mike Davis, who did not have great energy at the end of the first half.
Weber takes a 20-second timeout at 12:28 after the Illini fail to inbound the ball, leading to a five-second count. Weber is giving Keller a tough time in the huddle. A good timeout as Illinois looks completely out of sorts. IU is getting on the floor and playing like the hungrier team.
Indiana leads 53-49 at the under-12, after Hulls cannot come up with a loose ball under the Illini basket. Hulls’ diving effort on the play is symbolic of the fact that IU is outworking the Illini in the second half. Illinois needs to regain its composure and start running some offense, rather than looking so flummoxed. The Illini have not hit a shot in nearly 4 minutes.
Illinois is down 59-56 at the under-8. Weber has gone to the struggling Davis after Griffey picked up his fourth foul. IU has gotten some good looks but is missing them. The Hoosiers are outworking the Illini on the offensive boards; Indiana has had a couple of turnovers in this spurt, and the game is getting sloppy on both ends. Illinois is trying to do much at once, especially McCamey. Illinois needs to slow this game down as Indiana is thriving with this frenetic pace, which is like an energizer for this pesky team.
The game is nodded at 64 at the under-4 following a huge three from Cole and a travel by Dumes. Illinois has scored on several straight possessions now, and this game is a knock-down, drag-out war. IU freshman Christian Watford is having his way down low against the Illini. It’s anyone’s game in the final 4 minutes, though IU has generally been the more urgent team since the last 4 minutes of the first half. Illinois has outscored IU 17-9 in the last 7 minutes.
Illinois takes a timeout with 4.4 seconds left and the game tied at 72. Illinois’ offense was going nowhere on that play, so the timeout was certainly necessary, as McCamey gave up his dribble. Out of the timeout, McCamey inbounds to Cole, gets the ball back and hits a floater at the buzzer. Illinois wins 72-70.
A big state in this game: Illinois was 4-for-12 from three; IU 9-for-23. Illinois also got outrebounded 35 to 33.
Overall: Like the home win against Penn State earlier in the season, somehow the Illini pulled this game out despite trailing for good stretches of the second half. While this Illinois team has been maddeningly frustrating with its inconsistent effort and urgency, give credit to Weber in terms that he’s pulled out a lot of these games. A good use of the timeout late in the game, leading to the McCamey game-winner. The previous possession was going nowhere, and had the look of a Gonzaga redo (when Paul missed a bad three at the buzzer as Weber was hesitant in calling a timeout). I liked the fact that Weber has not been giving Davis minutes when he hasn’t been earning them of late. Not a pretty win, but it counts nonetheless.
Overall: Illinois survives 72-70. What seemed like it was going to be a potential double-digit win in the first half turned out to be a nail biter as poor decision making cost the Illini at the end of the first 20 minutes. While Indiana was the aggressor much of the second half, Illinois made plays when it mattered, with McCamey saving the day late.
Player of the Game: McCamey, who hit the game winner.
Play of the Game: With the game tied at 70 and 4.4 seconds left, McCamey hits a floater at the buzzer to give the Illini the win. Credit Weber for calling a timeout prior to the play, as Illinois’ previous possession was going nowhere.
Some Things I Liked:
● McCamey taking and making another big-time shot.
● Weber calling that last timeout prior to the game winner.
● Davis coming awake when finally inserted in the second half.
● Liked the fact that Weber sat Davis for a good stretch in the second half until he needed him.
Some Things I Disliked:
● Bad decision making (Keller, Paul and Richardson) at the end of the first half helped IU tie the game at the break, despite Illinois having a 12-point lead at the 3:20 mark.
● Illinois got outworked at the end of the first half and most of the second half.
● The Illini failing once again to handle any prosperity (coughing up a nice lead late in the first half).
● The pink jerseys. They were for a great cause, but also a bad match with the Illini white. With that said, it’s all good. I’ll take looking bad if it’s for something noble and worthwhile.
Well, that’s it for another Illini Tale of the Tape.
Up next: Illinois at Iowa.
Topics: Assembly Hall, Bill Cole, Brandon Paul, Bruce Weber, Christian Watford, D.J. Richardson, Demetri McCamey, Devan Dumes, Dominique Keller, Illini Basketball, Illinois Basketball, Indiana Basketball, Indiana Hoosiers, Jeff Jordan, Jeremiah Rivers, Jordan Hulls, Mike Davis, Mike Tisdale, Tom Crean, Tyler Griffey, University Of Illinois, Verdell Jones III