The Commercial-News, Danville, IL

December 3, 2013

LOCAL ROUNDUP: Beckman will be back at Illinois

Staff and Wire Reports sports@dancomnews.com
The Commercial-News

---- — CHAMPAIGN — Illinois coach Tim Beckman will be back in 2014 after a second consecutive losing season.

Athletics director Mike Thomas confirmed the decision Monday through a spokesman.

The Illini finished 4-8 (1-7 Big Ten) in Beckman’s second season at Illinois, and lost their finale 37-34 on Saturday to Northwestern. He faced speculation about his job security through much of the season, much as he had a year earlier when Illinois went 2-12.

Illinois spokesman Kent Brown said there hadn’t been any doubt that Beckman would return for 2014.

“I don’t think there was ever any consideration of making a change,” Brown said. Thomas and Beckman were traveling Monday and not available for comment.

Beckman is finishing up the second year of a five-year contract that paid him $1.7 million this year and $9 million in all. After Saturday’s loss, Beckman sounded as if he expected to keep his job.

“We’re going to take this program one step forward each and every day and make it better,” he said.

Defensive coordinator Tim Banks has been dogged by rumors that he won’t be back. Illinois’ defense was at or near the bottom of the Big Ten in most defensive categories. The team gave up 35.4 points a game (10th in the 12-team conference) and 481.5 yards (11th).

Banks said after the game that he hadn’t given much thought to whether he’ll be back.

“All I can do is the best that I can. I think that the things I have done as a coach for the past 18 years stand on their own,” he said. “No, to answer your question, I don’t worry about that.”

— Associated Press

Brown, Scheelhaase named 2nd team all-Big Ten

CHAMPAIGN — Illinois senior linebacker Jonathan Brown and senior quarterback Nathan Scheelhaase were both named to the all-Big Ten second team on Monday by the conference media.

Also being honored by the media were junior defensive lineman Houston Bates and senior wide receiver Steve Hull, as they were honorable mention selections. Brown, Hull and Scheelhaase were also honorable mention selections for the coaches’ all-conference teams.

Brown was second in the conference in tackles with 119 and he ranked third in the Big Ten with 15.0 tackles for loss, to go along with 5.0 sacks and one interception. Scheelhaase had a career-best season for the Illini (4-8) with 3,272 passing yards, the fourth-most in school history and 21 touchdowns, which was the best in the league. He also led the Big Ten in total offense (295.2 ypg), passing yards (272.7 ypg) and completion percentage (66.7). Bates was second on the Illinois team in tackles for loss (12.0) and sacks (3.5) to go along with two forced fumbles and two fumble recoveries. Hull finished his senior campaign with 59 receptions for 993 yards, the eighth-most in school history, and seven touchdowns.

PREP GIRLS BASKETBALL

Arcola 55, Chrisman 29

CHRISMAN — Senior Sarah Ellis scored a team-high nine points as the Cardinals fell to the Purple Riders in a non-conference game on Monday night.

Taylor Edwards had a game-high 23 points, including a pair of 3-pointers, for Arcola in the victory.

Abby Bush and Chey Warner each chipped in with seven points for Chrisman.

Bloomington Cornerstone Christian 42, First Baptist 24

DANVILLE — Hannah Wells scored a game-high 13 points but it wasn’t enough as the Knights lost to the Cyclones on Monday night.

Cornerstone Christian had two players in double figures with Tabitha McCall scoring 11 and Cassie Miller contributed 10.

Wells was the only player for First Baptist with double digits.

COLLEGE BASKETBALL

Rice earns Big Ten Player of the Week honors

CHAMPAIGN — Rayvonte Rice turned a game-winning basket and a game-winning steal into being named the Big Ten Conference Player of the Week.

Rice, a junior guard from Champaign Centennial, averaged 21 points, 8.0 rebounds and 3.0 steals per game as Illinois defeated UNLV (61-59) and Indiana-Purdue-Fort Wayne (57-55) last week.

In the victory against UNLV, Rice had a double-double with 25 points and 10 rebounds to go along with four steals, but it was his basket with 28 seconds remaining that was the difference against the Runnin’ Rebels.

This past Friday against the Mastodons, Ride had 17 points, six rebounds and two steals, including one with just 10 seconds remaining to seal the victory over IPFW.