Sports NewsMutterings,

CalendarSports News Elsewhere  (fresh daily from the Web)

Monday, Feb. 14

Illini and Railers continue to roll

By Greg Taylor          Send a link to a friend

[FEB. 14, 2005]  Illinois continued its amazing run Saturday with a hard-fought 70-59 win over a tough Wisconsin team. The Illinois trio of Luther Head, Deron Williams and Dee Brown were magical once again for the Illini, and in the end, it was free-throw shooting that really made difference for both clubs. Illinois made 18 of 19 attempts on the game, while Wisconsin struggled from the line, missing its first four and making just seven of 16 for the game. Both teams made eight 3-point baskets and 22 of the other kind, but Illinois made 11 more free throws, while attempting only three more.

Head, the senior from Chicago, scored 26 points and, for stretches of the game, seemed to be the only Illini wanting to take a shot. For the first time this season, Head failed to connect on a 3-point basket, but made up for it by making 12 of 13 free throws. Williams, battling inconsistent shooting much of the year, nailed two big 3-point baskets early in the second half and found himself battling Wisconsin power forward Alando Tucker on defense for key possessions in during the game. Williams looked really solid for much of the game while directing traffic. Brown, the flashy junior whom so many young Illini fans want to emulate, was frustrated by foul trouble for much of the game, but he came up big when it mattered most. Dee nailed two late 3s from well beyond NBA range to help Illinois extend its lead to double digits for the first time in the game.

Tucker was the story for Wisconsin, as the sophomore from Lockport led the Badgers with 24 points and eight rebounds. Illinois did hold the usually tough Mike Wilkinson to four shot attempts and just eight points for the game. Wisky's guards just couldn't match up with the terrific trio of Illini, and in the end, the Orange Invasion continued to sing its victory song for another game.

Saturday's game in Champaign was a crowded affair, to say the least. Over 200 media requests were filled by the Illinois sports information director, and dozens of recruits and their families watched up close and personal the No. 1 team in the land. CBS featured Illinois nationally for the fourth time this season, and the Orange Krush and crew were jacked and ready to roll. The media work room was packed beyond capacity as everyone seems to want to get a look at the amazing run by the Illini.

For week No. 11, the Illini will be the No. 1 team in the land, and for the third straight week, it should be unanimous in both major polls.

[to top of second column in this article]

Lincoln High School entered into Friday night's game at Southeast with the chance to take over sole possession of first place in the Central State Eight, as Lincoln and Southeast went into the game with just two conference losses each. I must admit, I was really nervous, because I know how hard it is to win on the road in the CS8. To say I was surprised to see Lincoln blow out the Spartans on their home court by 29 points is the understatement of the year.

Lincoln senior birthday boy John Harmsen was once again incredible, scoring 22 points for Lincoln, most in the second half, and the starters were once again writing the definition of teamwork as they played the game they love.

But, the LDN gives a huge salute to sophomore Brandon Farmer, who nailed three 3-point baskets in the crucial second quarter, helping Lincoln break a 13-13 tie and surge to a 30-17 halftime lead. Farmer, who has excelled in the point guard role, showed he can knock down the open jumper -- another weapon for a team that is now an incredible 23-4 on the year!

The second half was all Railers, as Southeast had to endure the dreaded running clock at home (the running clock goes into effect in high school when the lead becomes 30 points or more) and watched as Lincoln ran its offense to near perfection. In the end, the final was 64-35 and the Railers find themselves alone in first place with three games to go.

Kudos, of course, to the coaching staff and especially Neal Alexander for another unbelievable year of hoops at Lincoln.

Bottom line? Another great weekend of hoops for two of our favorite teams. Lincoln wins, the Illini win -- it just doesn't get much better than this!

[Greg Taylor]

LDN sports sponsored by:


< Sports index

Back to top


News | Sports | Business | Rural Review | Teaching & Learning | Home and Family | Tourism | Obituaries

Community | Perspectives | Law & Courts | Leisure Time | Spiritual Life | Health & Fitness | Teen Scene
Calendar | Letters to the Editor