The Commercial-News, Danville, IL


February 9, 2014

Illini hope to end slide against Nittany Lions

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — The last time the Illinois Fighting Illini won a men’s basketball game it was against the Penn State Nittany Lions.

Today, Illinois will attempt to snap the school’s longest losing skid in 40 years when the Fighting Illini travel to Happy Valley for the second contest of the year against the Nittany Lions.

But, according to Illinois coach John Groce, the Fighting Illini will need to get back to playing solid defense like they did in the first matchup.

“We won that game because we defended,’’ said Groce on Friday. “That’s the drum that we will beat the next day or two is trying to get that back, imposing our will on the defensive end.

“If it was a toughness issue or a chemistry issue or a togetherness issue, than I would be really concerned. But it’s not. At the end of the day, we have got to do the best that we can to get the absolute most out of this team. I proud of their collective toughness through the 23 games.’’

Ironically, the defense was one area that had been pretty solid for the Fighting Illini, even during their eight-game losing streak. But in Tuesday’s 75-63 loss to Wisconsin, Illinois managed just two defensive stops in the final eight minutes.

“That was a little bit discouraging,’’ Groce admitted. “Our calling card the majority of the year, the one thing that we have been fairly consistent, was defending in the half court.’’

So just as the Fighting Illini (13-10 overall, 2-8 in the Big Ten) seemingly has corrected one problem, offensive production, a new one has developed.

“We are trying to get our defensive disposition back, I thought our offense in the two home games was as good as its been in a long time,’’ Groce said. “I thought our ball movement was good. I thought we took care of the ball well.

Text Only
  • SPT - CN0423 - Danville girls track photo 1 Record-setting day for Hall DANVILLE -- Athletes, coaches and fans were all giving advice to Danville sophomore Imani Hall in the high jump. While she appreciated the encouragement, Hall just focused on what she had been doing in practice for the past few weeks and it worked. H

    April 23, 2014 2 Photos

  • SPT - CN0423 - Danville baseball photo Vikings no match for Tigers, loss 11-3 DANVILLE -- Urbana came a calling on Danville at Danville Stadium for a Big 12 Conference game with its ace Conner Gremar (Parkland College recruit) on the mound. The Tigers also brought their hitting sticks with them to defeat Danville 11-3. Danvill

    April 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • SPT-CN0423 - Seeger softball photo 1 Patriots take over in sixth, beat Mustangs WEST LEBANON, Ind. - Seeger hosted Fountain Central in softball and the lead went back and forth through much of the game. All that changed in the sixth inning when the Patriots sent 11 batters to the plate and scored a half-dozen runs on seven hits

    April 23, 2014 2 Photos

  • Vikings softball easily cruises past Chargers DANVILLE -- Alissa Peelman overcame a tough start and hit a home run as the Danville softball team beat Champaign Centennial 12-2 in Big 12 conference action on Tuesday. Peelman gave up both of the Chargers' runs in the first inning but only gave up

    April 23, 2014

  • SPT - CN0422 - Salt Fork SB photo secondary Storm cruise past Cornjerkers CATLIN -- On a windy and drizzly afternoon in Catlin, two teams with a combined 16 wins and one loss met up in what seemed to be on paper a heavy weight fight in Vermilion Valley Conference play. The Salt Fork Storm came out of the gates strong and b

    April 22, 2014 2 Photos

  • SPT - CN0422 - Local roundup photo LOCAL ROUNDUP: Cox tosses no-hitter for Westville DANVILLE -- Westville right-hander Tanner Cox was in total control on Monday against the Schlarman Academy Hilltoppers at Danville Stadium. Cox tossed a five-inning perfect game, striking out 11 of the 15 batters he faced as the Tigers defeated the H

    April 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • Local Sports Schedule TUESDAY Prep Baseball Fountain Central at Seeger, 3:30 p.m. Turkey Run at Covington, 4 p.m. Heritage at Schlarman Academy, 4:30 p.m. Hoopeston Area at Milford, 4:30 p.m. Urbana at Danville, 4:30 p.m. Prep Softball Fountain Central at Seeger, 3:30 p.m

    April 22, 2014

  • No Headline Provided PREP BASEBALL At Bismarck Oakwood 12, Bismarck-Henning 1 Oakwood 213 121 2 -- 12 16 0 Bismarck-Henning 000 100 0 -- 1 4 4 WP -- Taylor Turner. LP -- Strawser. 2B -- Turner, Slade. RBIs -- Landon Turner 2, Slade 2, Anderson 2, Girton, Vinson, Abbott.

    April 22, 2014

  • SPT- CN0420 - Danville baseball photo 1 Vikings continue to learn Vikings continue to learn BY AARON PATTERSON

    April 20, 2014 2 Photos

  • SPT- CN0420- NV Softball photo 2 The Mustangs, Falcons split twinbill VEEDERSBURG, Ind. - Too many mistakes cost the Fountain Central softball team any chance of defeating North Vermillion in the first game of their double header. At least that is how Mustang head coach Allison Alexander saw the game. "We had nine erro

    April 20, 2014 2 Photos

NJCAA Tourney Photos 2014

Check out the action at the NJCAA Division II National Men's Basketball Tournament March 18-22 at DACC. Buy photos from the Commercial-News here:

Must Read
AP Video
NDN Video