jumped on Indiana 20-3 over the game's first eight minutes but
expended most of that energy just waking up the crowd. Dee Brown
made a great over-the-head pass to Deron Williams, who flipped it
ahead to James Augustine, who made a nice flying Augie dunk! Not to
be outdone, Deron threw the next one to Luther Head, who hammered
one down. However, the Illini decided to join the crowd and take a
pre-Super Bowl nap, and by halftime the lead had whittled to 26-20.
Fortunately for Illini fans, the boys
came out of the locker room pretty fired up and extended the lead to
a comfortable margin. Dee hit two NBA-range and beyond 3-pointers,
and Illinois' defense swarmed the Hoosiers the rest of the day,
leading to a 60-47 win before 16,618 patrons.
The win gives the Illini a 23-0 and
9-0 record, and it was their 19th straight at the Assembly Hall.
Illinois is now 75-3 over the last five-plus campaigns. Their start
is also the fourth best in Big Ten history.
Four players finished in double
figures for an incredible 16th time. Augustine had 16, Head had 13,
Brown had 12, and Powell had 10.
The Illini take to the road for a
tough game at Michigan on Tuesday at 6 p.m.
sampling of post-game quotes:
Q: Coach, do you like it when
Dee takes those long NBA 3-point shots?
Weber: When he makes 'em!
Q: Coach, what was to blame
for Indiana getting such a good scout and read on you guys?
Weber: I guess you could
blame Nick Smith. He said in Sports Illustrated that you have to
disrupt us -- play zones, mix the defenses and hope that our guards
are cold from the perimeter -- so I guess he gave them the recipe.
Q: Coach Davis, what would've
happened if Bracey Wright would've played?
Davis: We probably would've
lost by 40… I'm just kidding. It probably wouldn't have made a big
difference. Illinois is a great team.
Q: Coach Davis, you held D.
Williams to one point. What did you think of that?
Davis: Williams is one of the
top two point guards in America. He handles pressure, makes big
shots, is an outstanding passer and plays defense flawlessly.
Q: Deron, what did you guys
think of the SI (Sports Illustrated) article?
Deron: We were in SI?
Deron: …I like it!
Bradley in I-74 slugfest
In another game that certainly won't
win style points for beauty, the ISU Redbirds disposed of the
Bradley Braves 69-62 before a sellout crowd of 10,200 fans. It was
ISU's first sellout in seven years.
Lincoln's Gregg Alexander continues
to carry the torch for the 'Birds. He tallied seven points, was his
team's high rebounder with six, and he managed three assists.
However, it is on the defensive side of the ball that he sets the
tone and helps his teammates bear down and get stops at crucial
junctures in games.
Saturday's game with Bradley was no
exception. Alexander held Jeremy Crouch to four points on the day,
and two of those came while Gregg was spelled on the pines.
Alexander also had to take the ball from out of bounds and get it
safely into play against the Braves' full court press, and time
after time he delivered. He will be sorely missed when he graduates
ISU is now an eye-popping 16-6 and
in sole possession of third place in the Valley with an 8-4 record
-- not bad for the team that was predicted to be last! Only
Illinois' unbelievable streaks have allowed the 'Birds to fly so
quietly under the radar!
ISU entertains the MVC's leader,
Wichita State, Thursday night at 7. This would be a GREAT family
night excursion for those looking for a fun, inexpensive family
[to top of second column in
defy the odds
If you watched as much basketball as
some of my friends have, you would realize that a team the size of
the Lincoln Railers is going to have issues in the post night after
night. But Lincoln continues to hide it, mask it and then put in
players who aren't afraid to go in there and get good things done.
How else could you explain Lincoln's amazing victory over Lanphier
on Friday night?
Lanphier comes in playing well and
with more athleticism than you can shake a stick at, and then the
undersized Railers go 2-for-19 from 3-point range -- probably
heavily out-rebounded -- and so you surmise a sad and tough Lincoln
loss? How 'bout a 50-38 win in a game that might not have been that
close. In other words, if Lincoln hits only two or three of those
missed 3-pointers, this game is a rout!
That's because Lincoln almost always
plays great defense, and when you swarm and play great defense you
cause the Lions to turn it over 21 times while committing only nine
of your own.
For an encore, Lincoln drove up the
road to take on Normal West on Saturday. This time the Railer shots
were falling en route to a 55-32 victory.
The win makes Lincoln now 22-4 and
9-2, which puts them in a first-place tie with Springfield
Southeast, a team they will see Friday night.
One last comment: It was good to see
a nice crowd at Roy S. Anderson gym on Friday night. The memo
must've gotten out. I still think we could be a little louder, which
would really help the home-court advantage, but just seeing more
people in the seats is a good start. Nice going, fans!
is probably one of my favorite
holidays! There's usually a great college basketball game (in this
case a beautiful Illini win) followed by the football game, lots of
great food and snacks, and just the fellowship of family and
friends. Could there be anything greater than that?
This Philly-New England game was
interesting from start to finish. The battle of two great defenses
shows why these two teams advanced. In the end, the Patriots were
too much for the Eagles as they have been for most teams over the
last two or three years.
I still think they wronged the
Raiders with that horrible call in the blinding snowstorm, but
someday I promise to get over that! (Not likely that that will be
very soon, however!)
All in all, it was another great NFL
season, but how much more fun is the Super Bowl when one of "our"
teams is in it???
to West Lincoln-Broadwell…
…who I understand won their 7A
tourney game in Clinton. I think that means they are to play Findlay
Okaw Valley tonight (Monday).
IWU No. 1
Illinois has become the capital of
the basketball world as Illinois Wesleyan has also attained a No. 1
ranking. Coach Scott Trost's cagers of D-III fame are 16-2 and 7-0
this season after destroying Carthage 91-67 before a
standing-room-only crowd of 2,900! Lincoln's Jake Sheley helps out
with the Titan program.
There are dozens of other things I
should be reporting on, but work and family responsibilities are
keeping all that to a minimum.
So, that's it for me… Have a great