Alexander now No. 1 of all time
There were some who scoffed or
doubted, but there should be no disbelievers now. That is because
Lincoln's Gregg Alexander is now the No. 1 3-point shooter in ISU
When you think of the previous
shooters on this list, like the previous leader, Tarise Bryson, you
think of players who had all kinds of plays run for them. Alexander
has made his simply in the flow of the game. He is matter-of-fact
about them. To him, he's just doing his job, helping ISU win games.
To me, that's what makes this record
all the more special. The LDN salutes Alexander on reaching this
BTW, Alexander is only a 3-pointer
away from becoming something like only the 37th player in ISU
history to record 1,000 points in his career. He will also likely
finish in the top five in 3-point shooting percentage as well. He
also is currently the leading 3-point percentage shooter in the
Valley and one of the leaders in assists-to-turnover ratio. However,
once again, he is more concerned about how far the Redbirds advance
in postseason play than he is in these numbers.
Illinois closes another successful business trip
The Illini are becoming the standard
that other teams are being compared to.
After seeing what they accomplished
at Penn State, Illini nation looked to Iowa City with fear and
trepidation. Not because they thought Illinois would lose, but that
they could lose... and if they were going to lose anywhere, it might
be there, though they wanted them to lose anywhere but there if they
were going to have to take a loss, comprende?
It's just that Iowa probably tested
the Illini the best this season by pushing them to overtime in a
game that hung in the balance for far too long. This time Illinois
tried to make sure that nothing bad happened by starting well and
finishing even stronger.
Dee Brown and Deron Williams led the
way with 18 points, and James Augustine continues to come up big by
cashing in 13 points to go with eight rebounds. These performances
offset the quieter work of Head and Powell, who didn't have their
'bout the play of Nick Smith?
Before I comment here, let me remind
the loyal readership that this space has NOT participated in the
Nick Smith-bashing season or the shots taken at him throughout his
career. In fact, I confess that he has been one of my favorite
Illini. That's probably not professional for a sports writer to make
a claim like that. But since I'm merely a "semiprofessional,"
perhaps I can get away with it. At any rate, I'm going to try.
Smith came up huge late on Saturday.
Staring at a first loss right smack in the face, Smith coolly sank
two free throws to extend the Illini lead to four points. Later,
with the shot clock about to expire, Smith launched a fall-away
3-pointer from the corner. You could hear the comments flying from
Illinois, Iowa and beyond.
I swear, though, that I heard only
one sound... I think I recognized it as Smith's own voice simply
saying "face"! (For those unfamiliar with that term, get a
dictionary from the late '70's-early '80s.) That meant the effort
was first and foremost for the Hawkeyes and their fans. But it may
just have been intended as much for all critics and skeptics of
Smith this year and throughout his career.
The kid CAN play and has helped the
Illini win some important games during his time here. He is
extremely intelligent (something I thought we wanted our athletes to
be), funny and articulate. He understands how important college
basketball really is... AND how unimportant it really is at the same
time (call me, fans, if you need an explanation for that one).
The teams we have played this year
have utilized more guards and wings than post players, which
obviously does not present the best matchups for Smith.
People will criticize him now for
not talking to the media after his great effort at Iowa. Not me. I
totally understand it.
Some media are so busy and so
distracted and so full of themselves they want to hop on your wagon
only IF you are the big star and the weekly pick. Then if you happen
to come through late in the year in a game like this, then all of a
sudden they want to talk to you. They have forgotten about your
leadership contributions all along the way. They forget about how
you've made the team better in practice every day. They forget that
even though you may not score like you used to, that you still make
great screens to free up your teammates and that you make great
passes to them to get easy scores.
[to top of second column in
I readily admit that I am much wackier
and much crazier than all the experts and the great media
personalities. But I don't forget players, and I certainly have
never forgotten Nick Smith. He was the dagger at Iowa, he nailed the
coffin shut, and he took the microphone out of the fat lady's hands
to sing the coup de grace! I say, nice going, Nick Smith!
Lincoln clinches another CS8 title
The Lincoln Railers rolled on by
beating Springfield at home Friday to celebrate Senior Night in
appropriate fashion. The victory ensures Lincoln of at least a share
of yet another CS8 crown (these guys are amazing).
For an encore the Railers went on
the road to face a tough Peoria Woodruff team. However, the Railers
proved to be much too strong for them as well and won their 25th
game of the year.
hoops picture keeps getting sweeter
How could it get any sweeter, you
ask? Well, don't ask me... Why not ask the Lincoln Lady Railers
instead? They just won regionals for the first time since 2000. It
came at the expense of the Bloomington Lady Raiders, who had beaten
Lincoln earlier in the season at Bloomington. This time the venue
was the Roy S. Anderson Gym, and the outcome favored the Lady
Bloomington finished its campaign at
17-8. Lincoln upped its record to 17-10 and will next tackle a
strong Champaign Central squad, who beat Danville 58-50 to win their
regional. Tip is set for 8 Tuesday night at Normal Community.
Congratulations, Lady Railers, and
good luck at sectionals!
"Miracle on Ice"
I guess we are celebrating the 25th
anniversary of the "Miracle on Ice." For those needing a
refresher... At the 1980 Winter Olympic Games held in Lake Placid,
N.Y., the world's best hockey team, the Soviet Union, was set to
play the USA as both squads entered the medal round. Russia had
pummeled opponents for years and had recently beat the U.S. squad
10-3 at Madison Square Garden in New York in a game that wasn't that
close. But yet, the Americans were hopeful. They played the game of
their lives. Jim Craig held the Russians at bay, and Mike Eruzione
and his mates found a way to win that game and one against Finland
(I think) to capture the gold.
I watched the game at a youth ranch,
Christian Encounter Ministries in Grass Valley, Calif., with my
friends Steve and Annie Stewart, who live in Springfield. Where were
you that day?
It was way more than a hockey
victory. It was a statement to the world. That freedom allows wholes
(or, in this case, teams or maybe even countries) to be more than
the sum of their collective and respective parts. I think we need
some more victories like that one today, some more miracles and some
more celebrations. I've suggested this before, but rent the movie
"Miracle" and let you and your family enjoy the ride and just get
While I tried to write this column,
I've been throwing down some double-stuffed Oreos. While this is not
an ad for them, I just have to say that these babies are pretty
And speaking of classics, my son is
really into robots, monsters and dinosaurs right about now. The
thought hit me... if he's into all that, he'd love one of my
favorite classics, "Star Wars." I shared that with my wife and she
thought I was crazy (I hope she doesn't think that about me often).
So, we rented it this weekend and... he loved it! His only complaint
was that the people talked too much!
Shaq and Allen Iverson led the East
to a 125-115 victory in the NBA All-Star game in Denver. We here at
the LDN are miffed as to why Lincoln's Brian Cook was conspicuously
left off the Sophs roster for their game with the Rookies, but we
are starting to get more of the picture. Soon we will give you loyal
readers an update on Cook's season... and it's been a good one for
him so far.
The Nissan Open is under water, but
they're hoping to play catch-up today and... Tiger is lurking...
That's it for me, everybody. You
stay classy, Logan County (sorry, I couldn't resist a one-week
signature change after watching a certain movie about a news