The Commercial-News, Danville, IL


December 30, 2012

Illini hold on to beat Tigers

CHICAGO — The 12th ranked Fighting Illini squandered a double digit lead, but still hung on to defeat the Auburn Tigers 81-79 on Saturday afternoon at the United Center in Chicago.

The Illini — who led throughout the game except for a brief stretch in the first half — led by as much as 11 points, but saw that lead dwindle to a single point as Auburn connected on their shots while Illinois went cold, missing both shots and free throw attempts to allow the Tigers back into the game.

Tracy Abrams led the Illini in scoring with a career-high 27 points, and also dished out seven assists and grabbed seven rebounds. Abrams, a sophomore from Chicago, brushed off the impressive point total in favor of the satisfaction that the win gave him and his teammates.

“It didn’t really mean that much to me, getting all of those points,” Abrams said after the game. “I was happy for Brandon (Paul) and D.J. (Richardson), and all the seniors, because that was their first win in this building.”

The win over Auburn broke a three-game losing streak for the Illini at the United Center and also gives the Illini a final pre-conference record of 13-1 heading into the grueling Big Ten slate, which begins next week.

Illini head coach John Groce has started his Illinois tenure as one of the most successful coaches in the history of the program.

Groce, when asked about his team’s performance against Auburn, summed it up in a few words.

“I thought that was one of the grittiest games that we scored 80 points in. Normally when you think of gritty performances, you think of games that are in the 40’s or 50’s, not the way things went today,” Groce said.

Paul, who scored 13 points in the game, but was held without a 3-point field goal, thought the win was especially satisfying, given the fact that he is from north suburban Gurnee and won for the first time in the United Center.

“It felt good to get the win, and for guys like myself, Tyler (Griffey), and the other seniors, it’s out first win here,” Paul said after the game.

Griffey and Richardson each scored eight points, while Joseph Bertrand added seven. The Illini made 27 of 40 free throw attempts, including some clutch tosses by Abrams down the stretch. Abrams finished 13 of 15 from the line, and as it turned out, they needed every single one of them.

Groce was asked after the game if his expectations have changed since the Illini’s big start.

“Honestly, I didn’t have any expectations coming into this season, but all I know is that from my previous time in the league, the Big Ten will be tough, especially this year,” Groce said.

This will not be the only time that the Illini will take the floor at the United Center, because the 2013 Big Ten Tournament returns to Chicago for the first time since 2007.

“I love playing in Chicago, and dating back to my time as an assistant in the league, the United Center has always been a great place to play,” Groce said of his memories of the building. “It really doesn’t matter what has happened in the past, all we are concerned about is the present time, trying to get better, taking it one day at a time, one game at a time.”

Auburn, who falls to 5-7 with the loss, was led in scoring by Frankie Sullivan, who had 21 points. Rob Chubb and Allen Payne added 13 and 10 points, respectively for the Tigers, who connected on 11-of-23 attempts beyond the arc.

The Illini once again lost the battle of the boards, getting out-rebounded by a 39 to 31 margin. However, the Illini only committed 11 turnovers to Auburn’s 20.

Up next for the Illini is the start of the Big Ten season on Wednesday when they travel to Mackey Arena in West Lafayette, Ind. to battle the Purdue Boilermakers.

The Boilermakers are 6-6 on the season and defeated William & Mary 73-66 on Saturday in West Lafayette. Game time Wednesday night is scheduled to tip off at 7:30 p.m. central time, and will be televised on the Big Ten Network, and on WDAN-AM 1490 and WDNL-FM 102.1 as well as statewide on the Illini Sports Network.

Text Only
  • SPT - CN0417 - Andy Bott photo Better late than never for Bott BISMARCK -- Marshall golf coach Matt Grobe completely surprised Bismarck-Henning standout Andy Bott with an e-mail earlier this year. Bott, who is a three-time all-stater for the Blue Devils, was preparing to attend Illinois Wesleyan in the fall. "Ou

    April 17, 2014 1 Photo

  • SPT- CN0417- Westville softball photo Nourie, Tigers beat Comets 20-4 in five inning game MUNCIE -- On a very windy day which made playing softball tough for both teams, Westville defeated Oakwood in five innings 20-4 with some good offensive production and a solid pitching performance from Stefanie Nourie. Nourie got her first win of the

    April 17, 2014 1 Photo

  • SPT- Cn0417 - Seeger baseball photo 2 Falcons make quick work of Pats WEST LEBANON, Ind. - North Vermillion sent 11 batters to the plate in the top of the first inning and scored seven runs en route to a 13-1 win over the homestanding Seeger Patriots. The visiting Falcons got five hits including doubles by Jordan West

    April 17, 2014 2 Photos

  • SPT - CN0417 - Local Roundup photo Salt Fork's Learnard pitches perfect game JAMAICA -- Salt Fork's Ross Learnard finally got back on the mound on Wednesday for the first time in a week and he did not disappoint, pitching a perfect game as the Salt Fork baseball team beat Schlarman Academy in five innings. "He had his breakin

    April 17, 2014 1 Photo

  • SPT- CN0416 - NV softball photo 2 Patriots smash Falcons CAYUGA, Ind. - Seeger took an early lead, extended it and then kept North Vermillion at bay as the Patriots defeated the host Falcons 14-3 in five innings. The visitors scored one run in the top of the first inning and, after North Vermillion went do

    April 16, 2014 2 Photos

  • Trojans get past Ramblers

    STAFF REPORT ATTICA, Ind. -- Regan Foster hit a home run and drove in three runs as the Covington softball team defeated Attica 8-5 on Tuesday in Wabash River Conference action. Andi Taylor had three hi

    April 16, 2014

  • Tuesday's Local Scores |PREP SOFTBALL At Attica, Ind. Covington 8, Attica 5 Covington 120 004 1 — 8 10 4 Attica 001 100 3 — 5 8 2 WP — Ali Holmes. LP — Torrie Ward. Two or more hits — C: Andi Taylor 3 A: Alexis Burris

    April 16, 2014

  • SPT - CN0415 - DACC baseball jump photo DACC splits with Parkland DANVILLE -- To quote Bull Durham, "this is a very simple game. You throw the ball, you catch the ball, you hit the ball. Sometimes you win, sometimes you lose, sometimes it rains." Despite eminent threats in the forecast, it didn't rain on Sunday at

    April 15, 2014 2 Photos

  • SPT - CN0415 - Local roundup photo Danville standout Smith signs with Wabash Valley DANVILLE -- A year ago, Mike Carpenter left Danville Area Community College to take the head coaching position at Wabash Valley College. On Monday afternoon, Carpenter returned to Vermilion County and this time, he secured the services of Danville Hi

    April 15, 2014 1 Photo

  • No Headline Provided Local COLLEGE BASEBALL At Danville Stadium, Danville Game 1 Parkland College 5, Danville Area Community College 3 Parkland 100 310 0 -- 5 9 0 Danville Area 000 300 0 -- 3 7 1 WP -- Bryce Pennington. LP -- Zach Anderson. Two or more hits -- Parkland:

    April 15, 2014

NCAA basketball
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
Disbanding Muslim Surveillance Draws Praise Hundreds Missing After South Korean Ferry Sinks Passengers Abuzz After Plane Hits Swarm of Bees Boston Bomb Scare Defendant Appears in Court Pistorius Trial: Adjourned Until May 5 Diaz Gets Physical for New Comedy Raw: Ferry Sinks Off South Korean Coast Town, Victims Remember Texas Blast Freeze Leaves Florida Panhandle With Dead Trees At Boston Marathon, a Chance to Finally Finish Are School Dress Codes Too Strict? Raw: Fatal Ferry Boat Accident Suspicious Bags Found Near Marathon Finish Line Boston Marks the 1st Anniversary of Bombing NYPD Ends Muslim Surveillance Program 8-year-old Boy Gets His Wish: Fly Like Iron Man Sex Offenders Arrested in Slayings of CA Women India's Transgenders Celebrate Historic Ruling Tributes Mark Boston Bombing Anniversary Raw: Kan. Shooting Suspect Faces Judge
NDN Video
Weatherman draws forecast when another technical glitch strikes WGN Jenny McCarthy Engaged to "New Kid" Kate and Will Land in Oz Boston Bomb Scare Defendant Appears in Court Bay Area Teen Gets Prom Date With Help From 'Breaking Bad' Star Behind The Tanlines Jersey Strong Part 1 WATCH: Women Fight To Marry Prince Harry! O’Reilly Launches Preemptive Strike Against CBS Pixar Unveils Easter Eggs From its Biggest Movies Baby Sloths Squeak for Their Cuddle Partners in Adorable Video Miley Cyrus Hospitalized After Severe Reaction To Medicine Raw: Ferry Sinks Off South Korean Coast Toddler climbs into vending machine 8-year-old Boy Gets His Wish: Fly Like Iron Man Much-Anticipated 'Gone Girl' Trailer Finally Debuts! (VIDEO) Dog and Toddler Wear Matching Outfits in Adorable Photo Series VP Biden: "World witnesses ordinary citizens doing extraordinary things" It's Official! Michael Strahan Joins "GMA" Blood Moon Time-lapse Actress Lake Bell Goes Topless