Dee '3s' Illini to victory
By Greg Taylor
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[FEB. 24, 2005]
It would be an
understatement to announce how much we love going to Illini games at
the Assembly Hall. We are big fans of the chief. We love the Illini
band. We get pumped looking up in the stands and being blown away by
the sea of orange in attendance. In the last three seasons, we've
grown to love hearing Jim Shepherd belt out the words "Dee for 3."
Wednesday night, on the way to victory No. 28 for Illinois, the
junior from the 'burbs nailed five 3-point baskets in the first half
and six for the game, making quick work of the Wildcats of
Northwestern as Illinois cruised to an 84-48 victory. Illinois
drained 14 3-pointers on the night, one short of the all-time record
set back in January against Penn State.
A 21-point favorite heading into the
game, Illinois did not disappoint. The Orange Invasion was rolling
from the beginning, and the fans were going crazy from the get-go.
Illinois led at the break 45-22 and the game really was not that
close. Wildcat coach Bill Carmody, a coach we really like, looked
helpless to do anything for much of the night as the Illini looked
every bit of the No. 1 team in the land. Four players found double
figures for "the good guys," as Hawk Harrelson would say, and the
Illini looked to be peaking in many ways.
We sure hope our buddies like Jay
Mariotti, Skip Bayless, Wildcat alum Michael Wilbon and even Digger
Phelps were watching, and we look forward to some good pub on
Thursday. Surely shows like "Around the Horn," "Pardon the
Interruption," "Cold Pizza" and "Game Night" will be ready to stop
the bozo commentary about Illinois not being the best team in the
land? Anyway -- off our soapbox and back to the game.
Illinois moved the ball consistently
all night long and looked really sharp on offense -- probably the
team's best effort with the ball since the Feb. 1 victory in Spartan
Land. Brown, Deron Williams and Luther Head were crisp and sharp all
night long. And did we mention Illinois clinched a tie for its
fourth Big Ten title in five seasons?
[to top of second column in
sights at the Assembly Hall Wednesday night:
- The 3-point buckets were falling
with frequency -- they made 12 in the first 25 minutes of the
- Dee Brown looked like Jeff
Mayfield from long range -- money!
- Roger Powell scored early and
often, making the most of almost every opportunity.
- The lead reached 40 points at
75-34 -- beautiful scoreboard site.
- Mandy the twirler, an Illini
staple for several years, made her final halftime appearance --
and received a standing "o."
- Orange, orange and more orange --
need we say more?
- Illinois dominated the boards, at
one point leading 23-8 on the boards.
- While Pittsburgh was losing at
home and Duke and Kentucky were struggling with inferior
opponents, Illinois decided to drill Northwestern from the start.
The turning point in this game was the national anthem.
- Gene Monje worked yet another
Illinois game -- and the Illini won again. My guess this is the
first season in my lifetime the Illini are undefeated with Monje
working their games. (I realize this isn't quite so impressive
considering Illinois has won all its games.)
- Warren Carter looks better and
better on the perimeter. I think Randle and Carter will look good
sharing the 3 spot next season.