Illini Tale of the Tape: Illinois at Purdue Boilermakers (February 20, 2010)

It’s safe to say that the Big Ten schedule makers were not kind to the Illini Fighting Illini in the second half of the conference season.

Coming off a blowout loss to Ohio State on Valentine’s Day and a near week layoff, Illinois traveled to Purdue on February 20th for its 4th straight game against a top-25 ranked team.

With Demetri McCamey dropping dimes left and right, and Mike Davis and Mike Tisdale splashing outside jumpers, the Illini would put up a valiant fight against the Boilermakers but ultimately fall short in the game’s final minutes.

Purdue would benefit from some home-court officiating, getting to the foul line 23 more times than the Illini, but also make the big plays when needed to earn the hard-fought win.

Unfortunately for the Illini, there are no such thing as moral victories, especially when 17-10 on the season and fighting for an NCAA Tournament berth.

Where I Was for This Game: Watching from home, hoping the Illini could split the season series with the Boilermakers, which would be a huge road get come Selection Sunday. However, considering that Illinois upset Purdue at Mackey Arena in the 2008-2009 campaign, I knew this would be a much more difficult task this season, especially when considering that the Boilermakers had righted the ship after a tough start to the Big Ten and were ranked #4 in the country entering this rematch.

What I Remember from This Game:

Demetri McCamey having an incredible floor game, with 16 assists (tying an Illinois record set by Tony Wysinger in 1986), and the Illini having a solid overall performance as a team after simmering over a blowout home loss to Ohio State nearly a week before. Purdue was just a little better when it mattered late, but the Illini didn’t have to hang their heads after this gutsy effort.

Watching television hours later and seeing Bruce Weber and Jerrance Howard at the UIC Pavilion, catching Mike Shaw, Jereme Richmond and others play in a high school city/suburban showdown.

What Stood Out/Surprised Me Upon A Second Viewing:

Was really impressed with Mike Davis’ activity in this game, and Mike Tisdale’s ability to hit some tough shots with the Purdue crowd going crazy.

Did not know that this game was a battle of two teams with the lowest allowed field goal percentage in the Big Ten.

Was intrigued by just how important JaJuan Johnson had been to Purdue. In the team’s 22 wins, he averaged 16.5 points per game. In Purdue’s 3 losses, just 6 points. Of course, that stat would not hold in this game, as Johnson just had 5 points (on 1-for-10 shooting) but Purdue still won.

Forgot that McCamey’s 16 assists tied an individual game high for the 2009-2010 season at the time. Earlier in the season, Kentucky’s John Wall and Florida Atlantic’s Alex Tucker also had 16 assists in games.

Before I break down this game, let’s revisit the first meeting between the teams back on January 19th at the Assembly Hall. Coming to Champaign with a 3-game losing streak, Purdue badly needed a win, but the Illini would hold serve in the first half, leading by six at the break. Purdue would finally finds its mojo in the second half and take a quick lead in the first four minutes before holding on late despite another furious Illinois comeback. The Boilermakers were led by E’Twaun Moore, JaJuan Johnson, and unlikely hero John Hart, a freshman whose name wasn’t even in the official score book, thus resulting in a late first half technical for the Boilers. As for Bruce Weber and the Illini, they had to feel like they let a winnable game slip away after reviewing this 84-78 loss. For more information on the first Purdue-Illinois tussle, see the Illini Tale of the Tape: Purdue vs. Illinois, Parts I and II.

Illinois Fighting Illini (17-9, 9-4) vs. #4 Purdue Boilermakers (22-3, 10-3)

Announcers: Dave O’Brien and Steve Lavin

Note: ESPN got to this game a few minutes late due to a slow finish to a Texas-Texas Tech contest called by former Illini guard Stephen Bardo. ESPN began airing the Illinois-Purdue game with 17:43 left in the first half and the score nodded at 4.

Illinois has its normal starters (McCamey, D.J. Richardson, Bill Cole and the Mikes — Davis and Tisdale) on the floor while Purdue is going with a lineup of G Lewis Jackson, G E’Twaun Moore, G Kris Kramer, F Robbie Hummel and C JaJuan Johnson.

● Demetri McCamey: Misses a quick corner jumper off an inbound play with 17:36 to go, leading to a long Purdue rebound and break where Kris Kramer misses a three but the Boilers get a long offensive board. Good push off a Kramer missed floater but turns the ball over at 16:37 on a nasty in-out dribble that was actually a carrying violation. Great job early finding his teammates off the screen-and-roll game. Hits Tisdale for an open top-of-the-key jumper at 15:54 and then Cole for a three from the corner pocket at 14:41, both times off the screen and roll. 4 assists in the first 4 minutes, with each other Illini starter scoring off a McCamey feed.

Good idea at 13:34, trying to push after Davis altered a Moore shot. Unfortunately, has his shot altered at the rim by Hummel. Overdribbled a bit; would have been better served to pull up and take a short jumper. Beautiful dribble split of trapping Purdue defenders at 12:20 and subsequent penetration before kicking to Griffey for an open jumper that is buried.

Bad pass at 11:33, making a difficult reverse pass that Griffey couldn’t handle. After a Davis turnover on the next Illini possession, McCamey begins to pick apart the Purdue defense, assisting on three straight possessions (two Tisdale jumpers sandwiching a Cole three). Is getting wherever he wants to go on the floor and controlling the show. Already with 8 assists as we’ve played just a little more than 11 minutes. Poor transition defense at 8 minutes as Barlow catches the ball on the wing and easily beats him to the rim, where he misses but sticks it back home for a 22-22 tie.

Gets his first rest at 6 minutes. Back in at 5:42 for Richardson.

Gets his 11th assist at 3.5 seconds left when he pushes the ball down court after a missed Johnson dunk and hits Paul for a corner three and 35-32 ILL lead. What a selfless first half for McCamey, as Lavin describes it and attributes it to Weber benching McCamey early in the year. Lavin also says that Illinois enjoys the thrill of the pass. Anyway you say it, McCamey with his best floor game of the entire season thus far in the first 20 minutes at Mackey. Has a player with 0 points ever had a better first half?

Gets fouled on Illinois’ first offensive possession, on a jump shot at 19:44. Illinois will need McCamey to be a bit more assertive in terms of taking his own shot. Hits one of two to put Illinois up 36-32. Nice off-the-ball movement at 19:01 frees McCamey up for a three at the top of the key, which he buries to put Illinois ahead 39-35. Doing a nice job penetrating and assisting on a Tisdale jumper and later hitting Cole in the corner, leading to a Richardson three.

Misses a bit of a quick pop-back jumper at 14:48, early in the possession with Illinois up 46-45 after a Grant three.  Purdue quickly pushes on that miss, and Moore hits a corner three to put Illinois down 48-46 with 14:37 left. Gets posted by Moore at 13:51. Plays decent post defense, forcing Moore baseline before the Purdue junior spins middle and hits a tough one-hander to put Illinois down 50-46.  Good closeout at 13:17 when Moore misses a three that bounces over the backboard. Illinois caught a break there as Purdue had two good three-point looks, with Moore’s shot coming off another Purdue offensive rebound. Bad turnover at 12:25, driving aggressively to the basket, leaving his feet, passing on a layup attempt and then throwing the ball crosscourt and behind him. The ball goes out of bounds and lands in the arms of Weber, who is not happy, slamming the ball down in frustration. Nice behind-the-back dribble leads to an aggressive at 11:33, but has the ball blocked out of bounds on the play, leading to the under-12 timeout.

Nice penetration and kick out of the under-12, hitting Davis for an open baseline jumper and his 13th assist of the game.  Hits a ridiculous fall-away jumper at 8:32 to put Illinois up 54-52. Picks up his dribble at 7:46, forcing Illinois to call a timeout. Beautiful pass out of the timeout, hitting a diving Davis for a slam and a 56-54 lead with 7:33 to go.

Overaggressive drive and terrible pass at 5:49 is stolen by Purdue. Too rushed there after Grant hit a three.

Fouls Grant with 52.7 seconds left. Grant hits the front and back end of the one and one to put Illinois down 70-62. Gets his 16th assist at 36.5 seconds when Paul hits a three. Fouls Moore at 28.9 seconds. Moore misses the first but Weber is hit with a technical on the bench. Hummel hits both technical free throws and Moore hits his second free throw to put Illinois down 75-65.

McCamey misses a three with 18 seconds left but knocks the ball out of bounds off Purdue.

Overall: 6 points (2-for-6 from the field), 16 assists and 3 rebounds in 40 minutes. Did have some costly turnovers (6 on the game) and probably need to shoot some more, but what else can you say? McCamey was excellent getting his teammates involved, and they reciprocated by hitting shots.

● D.J. Richardson: Right as ESPN cuts to the Illinois-Purdue game, Richardson has his driving layup blocked out of bounds by JaJuan Johnson. Good find off the curl and a couple of bounces at 15:20, finding Mike Davis cross-court for a jumper and 8-4 ILL lead.

Back in out of the under-12 for Jordan. As Weber has been hollering his name during this possession, D.J. moves his feet well when forcing a difficult Hummel miss; unfortunately, Cole didn’t box out, leading to a Barlow rebound at 9:29. Good drive after Kramer was too aggressive in the passing lane at 7:41 but got too far in the lane and caught up in the air, leading to a charging foul and the under-8.

Badly air balls an open corner three at 6:28 following a nice find from McCamey during a sloppy possession. Then gives up dribble penetration to Keaton Grant, who gets into the lane and is fouled by McCamey (his first). Grant hits both free throws to put Illinois down 24-22.

Good job out of the under-4, getting his hand up on a missed Hummel three with the shot clock down to three out of the T.V. timeout. Hits a curl three off a well-executed inbounds play at 1:49, putting the Illini up 32-27.

Another good dribble drive at 17:09 but left his feet as Kramer took the charge, with Weber not liking that call at all. Buries a three at 16:26 after McCamey used a killer crossover to get some penetration and kick to Cole in the corner. Richardson stepped into the pass from Cole with much confidence and drained the three (Illinois has made its last 6 threes), putting the Illini up 46-42.

Nice active hands at 12:09, knocking the ball away from the Purdue defender.

Catches a break at 9:52 as Moore fouls him while driving a bit out of control to the baseline.

Poor job of containing Moore at 6:04; the Purdue junior spins into the lane off an inbounds play and kicks to Grant, who buries a three over the slow-to-arrive McCamey to give Purdue a 59-56 lead. Nice job on the offensive glass at 5:14, tipping a missed Davis shot to Tisdale, who is tied up on the play. Hits a tough fall away at 4:24 to silence the Purdue crowd and cut the Illinois deficit to 61-58. Nice use of the dribble to free up some space there for the freshman, who has showed some onions in previous road games (see Wisconsin) with that shot. After the play, Weber gets a b.s. warning to stay in the coach’s box. We’re getting that warning at this point of the game. Come on now. Good defense at 3:51, getting matched up on Johnson down low but keeping his ground as the PU star goes for a fade away instead of using his size advantage. Johnson is 1-for-10 on the game. Good defense at 3:08 but Moore hits a tough mid-range shot created by a nice spin move to put Purdue up 63-60. Allows penetration by Moore at 1:28, and the PU junior hits Grant for a three and a 68-60 ILL deficit.

Overall: 10 points, 2 rebounds, 2 assists, and 2 turnovers in 36 minutes. Had a much better second half than first half, hitting some big shots and playing tough defense for the most part. Still makes some freshman mistakes, but a lot is required of this kid, who is not a normal freshman.

● Bill Cole: Catches a break at 16:43 when he allows Kramer to go baseline on a transition catch and drive; the Purdue senior misses a floater in the lane. Following his defensive board of a missed Moore three, spots up in the corner and hits a three at 14:41, giving Illinois an 11-4 lead.

Back in out of the under-12 for Paul. Cans a three at 10:03 as McCamey found him on the wing after more penetration. Illinois leads 20-19 thanks to that confident-looking step in and shot from Cole. Fails to box out Barlow at 9:29, resulting in an offensive rebound of a Hummel miss. Illinois will catch a break when Kramer later travels at the top of the key. Fouls Johnson at 8:36 as he was a bit late to collapse after Tisdale doubled a posting Moore. Johnson makes one of two as Cole sits with 2 fouls and Illinois leads 22-20.

Gets briefly caught behind a screen at 19:26, allowing Hummel just enough time for a three and a 36-35 game in favor of Illinois. Nice box out of Hummel at 18:09 and rebound after a Johnson miss. Got tied up after the play, but a foul is called on Purdue, which already has three fouls in the first 2 minutes of the second half. Funny how the fouls tend to balance out (at least early in the second half). Illinois got a break there, as Lewis Jackson clearly tied up Cole. Good hustle to a loose ball at 15:59, when he gets run over by Kramer, who’s called for the foul.

Back in out of the under 12. Called for an over-the-back foul at 10:41 after Tisdale missed an open shot. Gets backed down by Hummel at 10:18, and the Purdue junior uses a nice outside shoulder fake to go inside and hit a fade away in the lane to put Illinois in a 52-50 hole.

Picks up his fourth foul at 7:18, as Hummel posts up Cole again. Cole did a nice job of moving his feet during a Hummel step through, but there was some upper-body contact on the shot release. Cole is replaced by Paul and Hummel hits both free throws to tie the game at 56 with 7:18 to go. Back in at 5:49 for Paul.

Fouls out at 2:32, called for a blocking foul on a driving Grant. Was a second slow. Grant makes both free throws to put Illinois in a 65-60 deficit.

Overall: 6 points, 3 rebounds, 1 assist and 5 fouls in 22 minutes. Hit his only two shots (both threes) and shot the ball with confidence. Couldn’t catch a break defensively, getting some tough calls in the second half before falling out.

● Mike Davis: Nice defensive rebound of a missed Robbie Hummel three at 17:03. Misses a reverse layup at 16:51. That play was set up by a nice dribble handoff from Davis to Richardson, and then a good roll by Davis, who had an open jumper off one or two bounces but dribbled in for the more difficult layup. Great help defense at 16:19, sagging off the non-shooting Kramer and coming over to block a driving Johnson, who blew by Tisdale on a dribble from the left wing. Very active start for Davis, rebounding a missed Johnson baseline jumper after Purdue ran the screen-and-roll game against Tisdale and then canning a wing jumper at 15:20 to put the Illini up 8-4. Nice rhythm shot from Davis.

Great dive at 13:50 leads to a layup following a nice assist from Tisdale and a 13-6 ILL lead. Fancy finish there. More good help defense at 13:42, getting over to alter a Moore floater that is badly missed. Called for an offensive foul in the post at 12:50, pushing off Hummel prior to an entry pass. Comes up with a loose offensive rebound following a Paul miss at 11:57, but misses a one-handed push shot in the lane. A bit rushed. Would have liked to see the energetic Davis go up with both hands on the ball during that shot.

Bad high low pass to Tisdale at 11:02 is stolen. Angle wasn’t great and the pass wasn’t nearly high enough. Fails to box out Johnson, who gets an offensive board and then kicks out to Moore for three and a 19-15 Purdue lead with 10:47 to go.

Swats away a Hummel shot at 3:15, leading to the under-4. Great help-side defense there by Davis, who sent that away with authority. That’s 4 blocks for Davis, who was at the top of his jump on that impressive rejection.

Hits a nice baseline jumper at 2:50 to put Illinois up 29-25. A nice job of making himself available there after McCamey got doubled in a trap. Great defense at the rim with 9 seconds left, altering a Johnson dunk attempt with his own block attempt.

Is hesitant to close out on Kramer at 18:40, and the Purdue guard attacks the rim again, banking a shot, drawing a Davis foul and hitting a free throw to cut the ILL lead to 39-38. Rattles home a corner jumper at 17:38 off a nice dribble drive and bounce pass from Richardson to put Illinois up 43-38. Love the games Illinois is getting from Davis and Tisdale. Good help at 16:48 as Davis and Tisdale forced a missed Johnson driving layup; unfortunately, Kramer deflects the miss out to Jackson, who fires to Moore for a three and a 43-42 game in favor of the Illini.

Gets pushed on the baseline at 15:32, with the foul going against Hummel. Comes up with a loose ball at 12:09 after Richardson knocked the ball away from Moore. Nice offensive rebound at 11:44 after Richardson badly missed a three on a catch-and-fire release.

Nice job of popping a couple of steps out, getting in shooter-ready position and hitting a baseline jumper at 11:17 as McCamey penetration led to the scoring opportunity. Illinois has tied the game at 50. Follows up with a strong defensive rebound at 10:50, yanking down a Grant miss. Hits a big-time face-up jumper from the top of the key at 9:39, tying the game at 52. Davis is shooting with confidence tonight, going 7-for-10 from the field en route to 14 points thus far. Tough break at 8:22 as Davis leaks down the court after a rushed Hart three but has the ball knocked off of him by Kramer and out of bounds to Purdue. Falls asleep for a second at 8:05 and is half-a-step slow when closing out a curling Johnson from the top of the key. Johnson hits the bucket to tie the game at 54 (that’s Johnson’s first field goal of the game, and it will be his last). Great dive to the basket at 7:34, with McCamey finding him for a slam and a 56-54 Illinois lead.

Gets called for a cheap foul on the baseline at 6:24 as Hummel dribbled himself into trouble. Don’t like that call. Great block at 6:11, swatting away a Johnson dunk attempt at the rim. That’s a career-high 5 blocks for Davis. Short on a contested baseline jumper at 5:14. Poor hedge on a ball screen at 4:57, allowing Moore to turn the corner before Richardson could recover. Moore hits a runner in the lane and Purdue leads 61-56. Called for an offensive foul  at 3:02, after he leaned into Kramer on a screen in the backcourt. That costly turnover takes us to the under-4 timeout. Poor job by Davis there, who didn’t square up and flatted Kramer with his shoulder, a no-no when setting the screen. That’s 4 fouls on Davis.

Misses a tough, contested one-hander at 2:06. Great by McCamey of tipping a loose ball to Davis, who couldn’t finish a difficult shot.

Overall: Didn’t finish the game as strong, but played one of his best games all year in my opinion. Great activity all night long as Davis scored 16 points on (8-for-14 shooting), grabbed 12 rebounds and had a career-high 5 blocks, along with 1 assist and 1 steal. Surprised to see that he had 4 turnovers. Davis came to play, and play he did. It was nice to see Davis find his stroke and shoot with confidence.

● Mike Tisdale: Gets blown by off the dribble by Johnson with 16:19 to go, but Davis is there for an amazing help block. Follows up with a top-of-the-key jumper at 15:54 following the pick and pop game with McCamey. Illinois leads 6-4 after that well-executed play. Nice show and use of length at 14:57 as Moore misses a contested three. Doesn’t box out Johnson at 14:22, leading to a Purdue offensive board, an eventual Illinois foul on the driving Hummel and the delayed under-16 timeout. Hummel hits both free throws out of the under-16 to cut the ILL lead to 11-6.

Gets tripped and fouled at 14:02 by Johnson, as Tisdale was trying to give McCamey a dribble handoff. Nice find at 13:50, first controlling a difficult pass from Richardson and then hitting Davis for a back-cut layup and a 13-6 Illinois lead.

Poor transition defense at 13:26 as Moore beat him baseline, fumbled the ball and then scored a layup for a 13-8 game in favor of the Illini.

Back in at 11:20 for Griffey, who has two fouls. Silences the crowd at 10:33 when the driving McCamey found him just inside the three-point line from the right wing for a long deuce and a 19-17 ILL deficit. Good box out on Johnson at 10:20 and rebound of a Hart miss.  Hits a corner jumper at 8:54 as the splitting McCamey found him wide open in the corner. A good job of Tisdale popping out to the corner and being shooter-ready as he puts Illinois up 22-19. Tisdale is 3-for-3 from the field, and has not hit rim on any of his shots. Finally misses at 8:08 after a curling McCamey found him on the baseline for an open look that bounced off the rim and nearly around and in.

Nice post catch, turn and face up against Matt Bade at 6:53 but misses the jumper. I like that move from Tisdale, who hasn’t shown it much during the season. Usually, he’ll fade away or go to the half hook when with the ball and his back to the basket. Fouls Johnson on a face-up jumper off the bounce at 5:42. Tisdale with two fouls, as Johnson hits one of two free throws to put the Illini down 25-24.

Hits an open jumper from the wing at 18:21 as McCamey found him off a curl pass for a 41-38 Illinois lead. Gets called for a tough fall at 17:26, as Johnson caught the ball in the post and faded baseline with a shot that was quickly forced. Tisdale with three fouls but kept in the game. Johnson splits the free throws to cut the Illinois lead to 43-39.

Nice fake dribble handoff and drive at 14:10, but Tisdale has his layup attempt blocked by Hummel. Don’t see Tisdale go off the bounce much and he certainly covered a lot of ground, but Purdue with good help defense. Misses a quick top-of-the-key jumper at 13:41. That Illinois possession consisted of just one pass and then a shot. Way too hurried. Great pick and pop game at 12:42, catching a pass from McCamey and then using a beautiful pump fake and dribble to create some space and hit a corner jumper with the shot clock down to cut the Purdue lead to 50-48. That was a big-time play and shot by Tisdale with the Mackey Arena crowd quite loud. Good job getting back at 12:35 and using his length to alter a Johnson shot up close.

Gets an open look off the pick and pop game with McCamey at 10:41, but can’t convert the jumper from the right wing, which was maybe just one step out of Tisdale’s range.

Comes up with a loose ball after a missed Davis jumper but is tied up at 5:14. The possession arrow goes to Purdue. Another nice head fake and dribble after McCamey penetration and pass creates space for an open free-throw line jumper that is buried, cutting the ILL deficit to 61-60 with 3:41 to go. Tisdale with a yet another tough shot there.

Overall: 12 points (6-for-11 shooting), 2 rebounds, 1 assist and 1 steal in 32 minutes. Even though he was too perimeter-oriented, Tisdale had it rolling from the outside, hitting some big shots in a hostile environment. Loved how McCamey and Tisdale played the pick-and-roll game. Very nice complementary game on the road and did some things (dribbling into his shot, using pump fakes, and even facing up) that I hadn’t seen in previous game reviews.

● Brandon Paul: In for Bill Cole at the under-16. Aggressive drive from half court at 13:14 but can’t finish at the rim, where Johnson was looming. Purdue pushes on the miss and Hummel eventually hits a three at 13:06 as Paul couldn’t close out quick enough. He covered a lot of ground there, but Hummel still had a enough room to can the shot and cut the Illinois lead to 13-9. Misses an open three at 11:57; a good job of sliding his feet as Jordan penetrated and then stepping in and shooting but was a bit short. Draws a tough defensive foul when guarding Hummel at 11:46; did a good job of sliding his feet but looked to have made contact on the shot attempt, which leads to the under-12. Hummel hits both free throws to cut the Illini lead to 15-13. Hummel with 9 points already.

Back in at 8:36 for Cole.

Catches a break at 7:19 as he’s briefly screened off-the-ball, allowing Hummel to curl, catch and get into the lane, where Illinois has good help defense, forcing a tough shot and securing the board. Aggressive drive and left-handed finish at the rim (plus the foul) at 6:00 ties the game at 24. Paul with a great job of extending the ball there with his left hand, and fantastic control from the start of the drive to the finish of the shot. Paul misses the free throw. Hits a ridiculous cross-over three with 3:50 to go and the shot clock horn going off to put Illinois up 27-25. That was a bomb, with incredible arch.

Buries a huge corner three with 3.5 seconds left after McCamey pushed the ball down court following a missed dunk attempt by Johnson. Two huge threes from Paul in the half as Illinois leads 35-32 at the break.

In at 15:32 for Cole. Throws up a wild, spinning shot in the lane at 15:16. Bad shot there from Paul, who was really good late in the first half.

Back in at 7:18 for Cole, who now has 4 fouls. Misses a corner three at 6:45. Good look off more McCamey penetration, but Paul was fading a bit to the side on that attempt.

In at 2:32 for Cole, who has fouled out. Fails to box out Hummel at 1:50, and the Purdue junior tips out a Moore miss. Another loose ball to Purdue, which has been more aggressive all day on the offensive glass. Purdue will later score on that extended possession, with Grant hitting a three. Paul misses a three at 1:07; the ball spins in and out but is knocked out of bounds by Purdue. Draws a foul on an aggressive drive at 1:04. Can’t say that this kid is scared to shoot. Paul makes both free throws to cut the game to 68-62 in favor of Purdue. Good defense at 55 seconds, knocking a Purdue inbounds pass out of bounds. Turns the ball over on a pass with 45 seconds left and then fouls Hummel with 42 seconds left. Hummel hits both free throws to put Illinois in a 72-62 hole. Hits a corner three with 36.5 seconds left to cut the game to 72-65. Misses a three with 15.7 seconds left, with Purdue rebounding and running out the clock for a 75-65 win.

Overall: 13 points (4-for-10 from the field) and 1 turnover in 18 minutes. Provided a nice spark at the end of the first half but didn’t play as much in the second 20 minutes. His game can often be described as a tale of two halves: bad in one of them, a spark in the other. Has a ways to go as a freshman, but I like this kid’s potential regardless.

● Tyler Griffey: In at 12:50 for Tisdale. A bit slow closing out a missed Hart three at 12:30. Follows up with a smooth baseline jumper at 12:20 (set up by nice penetration from McCamey) to give Illinois a 15-11 lead. Slow to closeout Hummel at 12:13, allowing a dribble drive and committing a foul on the floor.

Loses Hart off a dive down low at 11:20 and commits a foul as Hart scores. Hart hits the free throw to complete the 3-point play and put Purdue up 16-15. Griffey with two fouls and replaced by Tisdale.

In at 15:32 for Tisdale, who has 3 fouls. Don’t know what happens at 15:04 as Griffey goes to guard Jackson, who makes a crosscourt pass to Grant, who buries a three to cut the Illinois lead to 46-45. Griffey closed out from the other end of the court; not sure if he was supposed to be guarding Grant there from the get go, or if Richardson was. There was definitely some confusion on that play.

Overall: 2 points and 2 fouls in 2 minutes. Had some problems defensively in the limited time he was out there.

● Dominique Keller: In for first time of the game at 6:20 of the first half, getting Davis. Misses an open three from the top of the key at 5:17. Great job of crashing the boards at 4:59, nearly getting an acrobatic, one-handed tip of a missed Davis jumper. That’s the type of energy that Illinois needs to see from Keller.

Illinois has chosen not to guard Kramer on the perimeter – with so much room to operate, Kramer attacks the lane and hits a layup at 2:18, with Keller a step slow to pick him up, cutting the Illinois lead to 29-27. Kramer got smacked in the face on that play, and is bleeding before play is stopped. Kramer leaves the floor and is replaced by Hart. Has a driving one-handed shot blocked out of bounds by Johnson at 1:54. That shot was there but a bit quick. Inexplicably leaves Hart wide open at 1:29, and the Purdue freshman/Illini killer hits a three to cut the Illinois lead to 32-30. Nice tip away of a Purdue pass at 1:20, following a quick Illinois turnover. Hummel misses several layups, but Purdue gets the offensive board. Keller then commits a really bad foul on Hummel at 55.9 seconds. Hummel was about 45 feet away from the basket. Keller is replaced by Jordan as Hummel ties the game at 32.

Did not play in second half.

Overall: 0 points (0-for-3) and 2 rebounds in 5 minutes. Not much of a stabilizing influence or energizing performance (except for a nice offensive tip in attempt). Becoming a bit of a chucker when he gets into games. Has clearly slid back in the rotation.

● Jeff Jordan: In at 12:50 for Richardson.

In at 6:00 for McCamey. Nice offensive rebound of a missed Keller three at 5:17. Misses a pull-up jumper at 4:37. In his limited minutes in this game, Jordan is getting some nice penetration.

In at 55 seconds for the ineffective Keller. Called for a five-second violation at 40.2 seconds. Weber is infuriated as the refs didn’t grant him a timeout. They do after the turnover.

In at 1:04 of the second half for Tisdale as Illinois brings a press. Illinois forces a Purdue timeout a 56.9 seconds. Good defense there in the backcourt. Stupid college rule allows Purdue to inbound the ball and get the ball across in 10 seconds. Illinois nearly forces a 5-second violation on the inbound, but Purdue gets a late timeout. Weber is livid and hot with the officiating.

Overall: 1 rebound and 1 turnover in 5 minutes, during which he had some nice penetration.

● Bruce Weber: Great start for Illinois, which is up 11-4 at the under-16. The Illini are running the pick and roll game to perfection, with McCamey showing excellent court vision en route to 4 assists already. Defensively, the Illini are generally doing a good job of limiting Purdue to one shot and that’s it. Mike Davis is off to a really active start, which is always a good thing. Purdue is cold, as the Illini are forcing mostly jump shots. Illinois looks much more focused at the start than the embarrassing Ohio State home loss.

Illinois leads 15-11 at the under-12. Purdue made a nice run there to cut the game to 13-11 (due to a few quick Illinois possessions), but the Illini have responded with better patience. Love McCamey’s floor game thus far and Davis’ energy and activity on the glass.

The game is tied at 22 at the under-8. Some unforced errors have hurt the Illini and allowed Purdue to get some baskets in transition, but McCamey has calmed the storm with steady distribution in the half court. Actually, McCamey is going wherever he wants to go and finding open teammates with ease. McCamey hasn’t scored but has 8 assists. McCamey is totally controlling the flow of the Illini offense. Tisdale is hitting the open shot. A key stat thus far: Purdue is 6/7 from the line; Illinois hasn’t attempted a free throw. Illinois is shooting 53% and Purdue just 29%. However, the Illini have given up 7 offensive boards compared to 2 give ups by Purdue.

Illinois leads 27-25 at the under-4, with Paul scoring all 5 points in that segment, including a bomb three at 3:50. This game is starting to become a Big Ten grinder, with the defense taking precedence before the offense.

Illinois leads 35-32 at halftime, thanks to a huge three from Paul near the end of the half. Illinois has given up 11 second chance points and has been outscored 11-0 on the foul line yet leads by 3. Unbelievable. McCamey with 11 of the team’s 13 assists, and Mike Davis has been spectacular, with 8 points and countless activity. Paul also with a huge boost in the first half. Imagine if Illinois had only boxed out and limited the Purdue second-chance opportunities. The Boilermakers are shooting a terrible 27% from the field. Lavin says this game would a blowout if not for the free throws and second opportunities for Purdue.

Illinois leads 46-42 at the under-16. Man-o-man, the Illinois offense is clicking. The Illini have made their last 6 field goals, and are playing with great rhythm. Everyone but Cole has scored this half, and McCamey is continuing to get in the lane and kick out. Illinois’ ball movement is as good as you’ll find in the first 4 minutes. Dating back to the first half, the Illini have made their last 6 threes and are 7-for-10 on the game, making up for a miserable 4-for-24 performance from behind the three-point line against Ohio State. Purdue has come out aggressive in the second half, but the Illini have taken the punch and punched back. Really impressive performance thus far for Illinois.

Good timeout from Weber at 14:37 as Purdue has surged to a 48-46 lead on back-to-back threes from Grant and Moore. The Boilermakers have scored their last 9 points from three. Illinois has had two bad possessions out of the under-16, with Paul and McCamey rushing some shots. Nice job by Weber to stop the momentum and get Illinois back to what’s been working so well: patient possessions with great spacing, deep penetration, and crisp ball movement. Just as Illinois has hit 6 straight threes, Purdue has hit 5 straight, including 4 in the second half. Purdue on a 10-3 run at the moment.

Illinois trails 50-48 at the under-12. Not Illinois’ best stretch of play in the last 4 minutes, as rushed shots and some unforced turnovers hurt the Illini. Illinois with 10 turnovers thus far; Purdue with 4.  Illinois also didn’t score for nearly 3:30 until Tisdale hit a big corner jumper. Purdue was the more active team in that stretch.

Illinois leads 56-54 at the under-8. Illinois has been outscored 16-8 in the paint, but Davis just had a big slam out of a 30 second timeout to put Illinois up two. The Illini are hanging tough and showing no signs of going away as Davis, McCamey and Davis again have all hit some big shots. Purdue has gone a bit cold in the last couple of minutes. The Illini had me believing at this point. Playing a really tough game on the road.

Down 63-60 at the under-4 (3:02). Purdue was on a 9-2 run to extend the game to 61-56, but the Illini have been resilient, with Richardson and Tisdale hitting big jumpers off the bounce. Illinois is playing with a type of toughness that Bruce Weber has been asking for all year long. This game is going to the wire, though an offensive screening foul by Davis leads to the under-4 and could be costly.

How is this for a foul-shooting disparity? Purdue is 17-20; Illinois just 1-3. While Illinois is a jump-shooting team, such a disparity is pretty ridiculous. Lavin describes this as the travails of playing on the road.

Illinois loses 75-65. Grant hit a big three to make it 68-60 with about 1:30 left. Purdue did the rest of its damage at the free throw line. A frustrated Weber got hit with a late technical. Illinois played a very good game, but Lavin is right to say that the margin of error was “razor thin.” To Purdue’s credit, the Boilermakers turned the ball over only once in the final 25 minutes and hit 9/18 from three. The second-chance opportunities and free throw disparity were huge as well.

Wow. This would have been a huge win for Illinois, which had nothing to be ashamed of after this performance. If Illinois played with such urgency all the time, the Illini wouldn’t be 17-10 and worried about the NCAA Tournament. Such are the lows with an inconsistent team lacking a clear leader from game to game (although McCamey was starting to fill that role) and relying on freshman and some inconsistent juniors (Davis and Tisdale). To the credit of Davis and Tisdale, they were both great in this game.

Overall: I have no problem with Weber or his team after this game. I though Illinois played with great resiliency all game long. It just came down to Purdue getting too many offensive boards, hitting a high percentage from three and shooting way more free throws. Even though it was a loss, this game made me very proud to be an Illini fan.

Overall: Illinois plays its heart out, but falls 75-65 (a final score that was not indicative of how close the game truly was). 15 Illinois turnovers to 5 for Purdue really hurt the Illini. As did just 5 free throw attempts and 3 free throw makes for Illinois compared to 28 attempts and 24 makes for Purdue. Both teams shot 50% from three (Illinois was 8-for-16; Purdue 9-for-18). The bad news: a lot of Purdue’s threes came off second-chance opportunities created by 15 offensive rebounds. Illinois seemingly played the better game, shooting 49.1% to Purdue’s 35.6%, but the Boilermakers made a lot of tough plays and played better on-the-ball defense against McCamey in the second half. Can only be disappointed that Illinois lost this game; the effort was phenomenal in my opinion.

Player of the Game: McCamey was great with 16 assists but did have 6 turnovers and not enough shots. Davis deserves this nod, posting a career-high 5 blocks and adding 16 points and 12 boards. This game shows you how good Illinois can be when Davis is active and hitting shots.

Play of the Game: Late in the first half, Paul hits a killer cross-over three deep beyond the three-point line as the shot clock horn expires, putting the Illini up 27-25 with just under 4 minutes to go.

Some Things I Liked:

McCamey’s passing off the pick and roll.

Mike Davis having an aggressive and consistent game in 40 huge minutes.

Mike Tisdale hitting some big shots off the pick and pop.

Bruce Weber having this team prepared from the get go, with the Illini simply forgetting about the difficult Ohio State loss.

Illinois playing a very focused and gritty game as a team.

Some Things I Disliked:

Didn’t like the fact that Hummel (12 free throws), Grant (6 free throws) and Johnson (6 free throws) each shot more free throws than the whole Illinois team.

Don’t understand how Illinois got called for 23 team fouls, compared to 12 for Purdue.

Poor job on the defensive glass by the Illini (15 Purdue offensive boards) and too many turnovers (15).

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

Up next, an ugly game at Michigan.

Until then.

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Tags: Bill Cole Brandon Paul Bruce Weber D.J. Richardson Demetri McCamey Dominique Keller E'Twaun Moore Illini Basketball Illinois Basketball JaJuan Johnson Jeff Jordan Jerrance Howard Keaton Grant Kelsey Barlow Kris Kramer Lewis Jackson Matt Painter Mike Davis Mike Tisdale Purdue Purdue Basketball Purdue Boilermakers Robbie Hummel Tyler Griffey U-of-I Basketball University Of Illinois

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