Illini dispose of rude 'Cats;
Alexander shoots holes in Bulldog zone
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By Jeff Mayfield
[JAN. 17, 2005]
year ago at this time, Illini fans were bemoaning just about
everything. Fans were mourning the loss of Bill Self to Kansas,
early losses in the Big Ten and wondering if hiring Bruce Weber was
the right course of action. A record of 31-2 since a loss at
Evanston a year ago has gone a long way toward brightening the mood
of the Illini faithful.
This year added a new dimension to the
whole situation. The Illini know that they're carrying one of the
largest bull's-eyes on their backs that has ever been seen. They
also know that they will be abused in every possible way when they
go on the road, but Saturday's road trip may have seen fans stooping
to a new low. Whether that is possible at Northwestern I do not
know, but reports from the scene were that the fans were cursing
Illini players, coaches and even the managers and that just before
game time someone threw a pizza at the players. They must've not
known how truly hungry this Illini team really is! I've been around
the game my whole life, and I would have to say that taunting the
managers is a first for me.
would like to take this opportunity to thank Wildcat nation for
inducing the wrath of the Illini, because Illinois opened up a big
can of whoppin' on Northwestern in response to their warm welcome,
which resulted in a 78-66 whipping. I found it humorous that
Northwestern coach Bill Carmody was at a loss to understand his
team's 16 turnovers. My response: "Hey, Bill, why not consult your
Luther Head led the way with a
scintillating 26-point performance. Roger Powell continued his
outstanding play with 15 points, and visibly upset Dee Brown tallied
12 for the cause.
With the win Illinois goes to 18-0,
which is the best start in history for an Illini team, besting the
17-0 run that the 1988-89 team used to vault itself to the Final
Four. The Illini also moved to 4-0, have won 14 Big Ten games in a
row and have an 18-0 overall record. According to an ABC stat
yesterday, Illinois leads the nation with something like nine or 10
road wins in a row, to boot. Needless to say, with UNC's loss to
Wake this past weekend, Illinois should remain No. 1 for a seventh
The Illini will host a
stronger-than-usual Iowa team Thursday night at the Assembly Hall.
[to top of second column in
Alexander does it all in Redbird victory
Yes. You read that subheading
correctly. Lincoln's Gregg Alexander nailed five first-half
3-pointers and tallied six assists and six rebounds for the game,
leading ISU to an exciting victory over Drake. He also registered
one steal, one blocked shot and led the team with 34 minutes of game
action while committing only two turnovers. He may have directed
traffic and sold 50-50 tickets when we didn't have our eyes on him!
Alexander was terrific as he shot holes in Dr. Tom Davis' vaunted
zone. In the second half he fed his teammates for open shots and
hauled down big rebounds whenever the Bulldogs tried to cut into the
In the end, ISU had a 74-61 triumph
over a solid Drake U squad and had outdone last year's ISU cinquet
by winning their 11th game against only five losses. The victory
evened their record in the Valley to 3-3.
We sure would like to see them get
at least seven or eight more wins and get rewarded with a nice NCAA
invite or a nice NIT game at home!
Whatever the case, Alexander sure
knows how to manifest an exciting senior year on the court. Coach
Moser commended Alexander for his tremendous shooting and the way he
inbounded the ball against the press. Both of those factors led
directly to the Redbird victory.
ISU hits the road Wednesday night
with a tough game against the greatly improved Sycamores of Indiana
Mutterings will continue on Tuesday.