2013-Illini-Cougars

Posted on November 24, 2013. Filed under: Basketball, NCAA Sports | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

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November 22, 2013

After opening the season with four games in nine days, 4-0 Illinois plays its lone game in an eight-day stretch, hosting 2-3 Chicago State on Friday night, and extended their 2013-14 streak to 5, defeating the Cougars 77-53. This victory gives the Illini their third consecutive season with a record of 5-0.

Senior Jon Ekey was the spark the team needed Friday night against Chicago State, as he lit things up on the court including a put back dunk, and back-to-back threes. WATCH!

“Different coaches, different systems,” Ekey said. “These coaches play a little bit differently, which I fit into a little bit better than the system they have over there [at Illinois State.] It’s great at this level to be able to do that, it’s one of those things that the coaches have been talking about ever since I got on campus. That’s why they recruited me when I left over there. It’s what they’ve been talking about to me every day, going out there, taking the open ones and don’t pass up shots. Just been a work in progress that’s kind of accumulated.”

Ekey led the way with 19 points and snagged 6 boards, followed by a trio of players who added 12 points including Joseph Bertrand, Tracy Abrams and Rayvonte Rice. Bertrand snagged 8 boards.

Coming off a 5-of-7 three-point shooting performance against Bradley on Sunday, Ekey again hit five threes to bail out the Illini against the lingering Chicago State team. After the Cougars pulled within four (55-51) with eight minutes left in the ball game, Ekey got his spark started with a dunk 30 seconds later, and didn’t look back.

On the other side of the court, the Cougars’ Clarke Rosenberg led the way with 16 points, followed by Matt Ross who added 13. Eddie Denard snagged 5 boards.

The Cougars shot 18-45 (40.0%) from the floor while Illini shot 26-54 (48.1%). Home team also controlled the boards with a 39-20 margin.

Up next for Illinois is a trip west to face UNLV, November 26.

Up next for Chicago State is Southern Illinois, November 30 at 205pm on their home campus. The game can also be heard on the world-famous WVON 1690AM.

GAME NOTES
Illinois is now 13-0 in November under head coach John Groce and has won its last 24 games overall in the month of November.

(more…)

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Fighting Illini steal another victory in Big Ten play

Posted on February 7, 2013. Filed under: Basketball, NCAA Sports | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

 

FINAL: Illinois 74, Indiana 72

February 7, 2013

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CHAMPAIGN – Coming into tonight’s contest everything seems to be clicking for the Indiana Hoosiers (20-3, 8-2), as they reclaimed the country’s No. 1 ranking behind three impressive wins last week, and they were hoping to open up to 5-0 on the road in Big Ten and avoided a 10th loss in Champaign, but that wasn’t the case tonight.

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As the home team, Fighting Illini (16-8, 3-7), continue their winning ways at home against the Hoosiers with a 74-42 victory.

With .9 seconds, senior forward Tyler Griffey made the easiest, yet biggest shot maybe of his career to seal the win. Griffey left defenders Cody Zeller and Christian Watford behind on an inbounds play from the baseline, took the pass from Brandon Paul and delivered the uncontested buzzer-beater for the Illini.

”I just made a simple curl cut and left two guys behind me, and Brandon got off a heck of a pass,” he said. ”Zeller and Watford were both right in front of me and just kind of stayed there.”

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Coming down the stretch, Indiana was in charge until Illinois put together a run to take and then retake the lead.

On top of it all, 6-foot-11 Nnanna Egwu fouled out with just under 5 minutes to play, Indiana looked totally in control. Egwu is the only Illini player with the size to realistically match up with the 7-0 Zeller, but size wasn’t what the Illini needed, they needed scoring….

Watford made two free throws after Egwu’s fifth foul and, at 69-59, the Illini looked done. But with the clock under 3 minutes, DJ Richardson went on a run of his own, first burying consecutive 3-pointers and then hitting a midrange jumper on the run to tie the game at 70 with 1:17 to play. Victor Oladipo’s layup put the Hoosiers back on top with 50 seconds left, but Paul answered with two free throws, the first banked in, to tie the score again at 72.

With the clock under 30 seconds, Indiana had the ball for what would have been a last shot but Oladipo fumbled the ball. Richardson picked it up and sprinted down court. Oladipo slapped Richardson’s layup out of bounds to set up the final play – .9 on the clock, and well, bad defense and lack communication on Indiana’s part.

”We didn’t communicate,” coach Crean said after the game. ”They’re very deserving of the win, they never gave in,” he added, but he qualified that with, ”We didn’t put them away when we had the opportunities. I know this, when we turn the ball over we’re not very good and the biggest difference tonight was 28 points off turnovers to our 16.”

Coach Groce credited Richardson for sparking the comeback.

”I thought he was absolutely terrific on both ends of the floor,” Groce said. ”He battled, he fought.”

Indiana’s loss drops them into a three-way tie for first in the Big Ten with Michigan and Michigan State. For the Illini, the win means a move out of 10th in the 12-team conference up into a ninth-place tie with Iowa. More importantly, it’s a potential lifeline for an Illini team that still has to face No. 18 Minnesota on the road Sunday (Big Ten Network) and had been watching its season slip away. Indiana travels to Ohio to take on Big Ten foe Ohio State Sunday afternoon (CBS)

“I can’t answer that. I’m not sure,” Crean said. ”I just know that these games are 40-minute games. We played at a high level for most of the game.”

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Richardson had 23 points for Illinois, Brandon Paul had 21 and Griffey finished with 14 points and eight rebounds.

Zeller led Indiana with 14 points, while Will Sheehey had 13, Watford 12 and Jordan Hulls 11.

Indiana shot 50 percent from the field (25 of 50), 52.9 percent from 3-point range (9 of 17) and 93 percent from the free throw line (13 of 14). The Hoosiers led by an 8- to 10-point margin for most of the second half.

”It was good to get back to having that toughness and togetherness and trust that we needed,” Illinois coach John Groce said.

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FUN FACT: Illinois hadn’t beaten a No. 1 team since a 2004 win over Wake Forest. 

FUN FACT: No. 1 Indiana on Thursday night, the fifth straight week the nation’s top-ranked team lost.

#B1GTEN #ILvsIND

 

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2013 Big Ten matchup – Illinois host Indiana

Posted on February 7, 2013. Filed under: NCAA Sports | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

2013 Illini host Hoosiers

February 7, 2013

Everything appears to be clicking for Indiana, which reclaimed the country’s No. 1 ranking behind three impressive wins last week.

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The Hoosiers, though, could be hard-pressed to keep their celebrations going with two difficult matchups in store.

Looking to open 5-0 on the road in Big Ten play, Indiana tries to avoid a 10th loss in 11 visits to Illinois on Thursday night.

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Indiana (20-2, 8-1) opened 2012-13 ranked No. 1 and spent five weeks there before suffering an 88-86 overtime defeat to Butler on Dec. 15. While a 64-59 home loss to Wisconsin on Jan. 15 also raised some eyebrows, the Hoosiers have since won five straight by an average of 16.2 points.

That run includes a 75-70 victory over then-No. 13 Michigan State and a 97-60 rout at Purdue, but beating then-No. 1 Michigan 81-73 on Saturday was undoubtedly Indiana’s most notable result. Sophomore standout Cody Zeller had 19 points and 10 rebounds as all five starters scored in double figures.

“It’s a huge accomplishment,” junior Victor Oladipo said of getting back to No. 1. “You know we started there, we had a hard road to get back here. We’re just going to continue to keep working.”

While Indiana is excited about the recognition, coach Tom Crean doesn’t want his team getting caught up in the hoopla.

“That’s not what they play for,” Crean said. “I think they truly are learning that those things are nice, but playing to improve, to win games like this, to face some adversity and fight through it, that’s what matters. When we were not No. 1 in December they heard those things. Were we any worse because we lost by two? We didn’t play very well that day.”

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The Hoosiers haven’t played very well during their last several trips to Champaign, either. Indiana has dropped three straight and nine of 10 at Illinois, with its lone win coming 83-79 in double-overtime Feb. 7, 2008.

“We know that the challenge is great this week in going to Illinois and then to (No. 10) Ohio State (on Sunday),” said Crean, whose team took the last matchup in this series 84-71 at home last Feb. 9.

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The Fighting Illini (15-8, 2-7), who’ve dropped six of seven while yielding 72.1 points per game, are hoping to avoid a season-worst fourth consecutive loss after falling 74-68 to Wisconsin on Sunday. Illinois has allowed opponents to shoot 51.3 percentage during the skid.

“Defensively, I thought we were atrocious (last week),” coach John Groce said. “And until we get that figured out, then obviously we’re not going to be where we want to be. At this point, we’re kind of at a crossroads with our defense, we’ve got to get better.”

The Illini figure to have their hands full against a Hoosiers team that’s averaging 83.8 points, the country’s second-best mark. Indiana’s 50.1 field-goal percentage ranks sixth.

“Obviously, they bring several challenges. They’re a really good basketball team, they’re well coached,” Groce said. “They’ve got size, they’ve got depth, they’ve got shooting, they’ve got point-guard play.

“But to be honest, as we approach this week, it’s more about us. … We’ve got to get recommitted and be more difficult to score against, regardless of who we play.”

Senior Brandon Paul is averaging a team-leading 17.4 points for Illinois but has posted 13.8 per game in his last four.

Indiana freshman point guard Yogi Ferrell is averaging 12.8 points over his last four contests – 5.1 more than his season mark.

The Hoosiers haven’t won their first five league games in opposing arenas since opening 6-0 in 1992-93.

 

#B1GTEN #ILvsIND

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