The Commercial-News, Danville, IL

Sports

February 21, 2013

Illini hope work pays off

CHAMPAIGN —  Illinois men’s basketball coach John Groce tries to get the most out of his players, both in practice and in games. The hard work may be finally paying huge dividends.

The Fighting Illini returns to action tonight when they welcome the Penn State Nittany Lions to the Assembly Hall in Champaign.

The Illini, winners of four straight games and climbing in the Big Ten standings, currently are 19-8 overall and 6-7 in the Big Ten.

“Obviously we’re excited about the direction that our defense is going right now, and the guys have done a great job of focusing on game plans,” Groce said.

The starting lineup for the previous few games has been based on how players have graded out on defense in games, and it doesn’t necessarily mean that players that aren’t in the lineup are not contributing.

“I find it hilarious that people make a big deal over Tracy (Abrams) not being in the starting lineup, but in all actuality, he played 30 minutes. It is all about how they grade out on defense both in practice and in games, and Joseph (Bertrand) graded out a little better than Abrams did,” Groce said.

The Illini held Northwestern scoreless for nearly 10 minutes from the end of the first half into the second, all the while tightening up their defense and limiting the Wildcats from shooting beyond the perimeter.

“I thought we didn’t give them a lot of clean looks, and we knew that they were going to come in and shoot threes, and make some,” Groce said about the preparation that he had for Northwestern.

Brandon Paul, who only scored eight points against the Wildcats, probably played one of his best games of the season, grabbing six rebounds and dishing out five assists.

“I thought Brandon had one of his best all-around games on Sunday, and he doesn’t necessarily need to score 20 points for us to be successful,” Groce said.

The Nittany Lions come into the game with the Illini at 8-17 overall, and are winless in conference this season at 0-13. Penn State suffered a huge blow to their program early in the season when preseason all-Big Ten player Tim Frazier was lost for the season. In Frazier’s absence, the Nittany Lions have had to rely on D. J. Newbill and Jermaine Marshall to shoulder the load. Before Frazier was injured, he was averaging just over 16 points per game.

“Their (Penn State’s) two guards, Marshall and Newbill really push the ball, and even though they have been through a lot of adversity this season, Coach (Patrick) Chambers has had them playing better basketball the past couple of games,” Groce said.

“But it is not about them, it is about us, and this is the next game on the schedule, and you have to bring it every single night and build on what we have done in the past few games.”

Tonight’s game is set to tip off at 7:15 p.m., and can be seen on the Big Ten Network, as well as WDAN-AM 1490, WDNL-102.1 and statewide on the Illini Sports Network.

1
Text Only
Sports
  • SPT - CN0801 - Dans photo 2 Troubles continue DANVILLE­­­ — The Danville Dans dropped their fourth straight game on Thursday night, falling 5-1 to the visiting West Virginia Miners at historic Danville Stadium for the final regular season home contest of the season.The game started a little on t

    August 1, 2014 2 Photos

  • Conservation World highlights outdoor activities at State Fair Free activities and entertainment for youth and families will give Illinois State Fair visitors a chance to sample great ways to spend time in the great outdoors in Illinois at Conservation World at this year’s state fair, on Aug. 8-17 in Springfield

    August 1, 2014

  • Local Sports Calendar TODAYLocal TennisMcTagertt Tennis Tournament at North MontgomerySATURDAYLocal TennisMcTagertt Tournament at Fountain CentralProspect League BaseballDanville Dans at Hannibal Cavemen, 7:05 p.m.TODAYAuto RacingNASCAR Sprint Cup Series: GOBOWLING.com 40

    August 1, 2014

  • SPT - CN0731 - Dans photo 1 Danville boots one away DANVILLE — Keith Shumaker, an every day first baseman, was tied for the team lead in RBIs this season, before making his first start on the mound.But that was the least of the concerns for the Danville Dans, who made four fielding errors en route to

    July 31, 2014 2 Photos

  • Local Sports Calendar TODAYProspect League BaseballWest Virginia Miners at Danville Dans, 6:30 p.m.Local TennisMcTagertt Tennis Tournament at North Montgomery, 3:30 p.m.FRIDAYLocal TennisMcTagertt Tennis Tournament at North MontgomerySATURDAYLocal TennisMcTagertt Tourname

    July 31, 2014

  • SPT - CN0730 - Dans baseball photo 1 Dans continue to struggle DANVILLE — The Danville Dans haven’t exactly been playing their best baseball in the second half of the season. After taking the West Division title in the first half with a 19-11 record, Danville has played sub-.500 baseball in the second half and c

    July 30, 2014 2 Photos

  • SPT - CN0730 - Illini football media photo Experienced Illini looking for success CHICAGO — Illinois Fighting Illini head coach Tim Beckman is hoping that the third time is the charm.Beckman begins his third season at the helm of the Illini, and with the nucleus of last season’s team returning, it may finally be time for Illinois

    July 30, 2014 1 Photo

  • SPT - CN0730 - Purdue football media photo Hazell hopes for smooth second season CHICAGO — After a season to forget in 2013, Purdue head coach Darrell Hazell is expecting better results as his team begins training camp next week. Hazell spoke to the media during the 2014 Big Ten Football Media Days at the Hilton Chicago, and afte

    July 30, 2014 1 Photo

  • Local Sports Calendar TODAYProspect League BaseballHannibal Cavemen at Danville Dans, 6:30 p.m.THURSDAYProspect League BaseballWest Virginia Miners at Danville Dans, 6:30 p.m.Local TennisMcTagertt Tennis Tournament at North Montgomery, 3:30 p.m.FRIDAYLocal TennisMcTagertt

    July 30, 2014

  • SPT - CN0729 - Dustbowl photo 2 Repeat performance Championship Sunday was in full swing at the 42nd Annual Dustbowl at David S. Palmer Arena. In the men’s division it was defending champions Leek & Sons against the Hickory Beavers. Leek & Sons made it back to back championships with a 29-point victo

    July 29, 2014 2 Photos

E-edition
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: http://smu.gs/1iCWKnP

Must Read
AP Video
Renewed Violence Taking Toll on Gaza Residents 2 Americans Detained in North Korea Seek Help US Employers Add 209K Jobs, Rate 6.2 Pct House GOP Optimistic About New Border Bill Gaza Truce Unravels; Israel, Hamas Trade Blame Raw: Tunisia Closes Borders With Libya Four Rescued From Crashed Plane Couple Channel Grief Into Soldiers' Retreat WWI Aviation Still Alive at Aerodrome in NY Raw: Rescuers at Taiwan Explosion Scene Raw: Woman Who Faced Death Over Faith in N.H. Clinton Before 9-11: Could Have Killed Bin Laden Netanyahu Vows to Destroy Hamas Tunnels Obama Slams Republicans Over Lawsuit House Leaders Trade Blame for Inaction
NDN Video
Under Armour Launches Biggest Women's Campaign with Inspiring Ad NYPD chokehold death of Eric Garner was homicide: medical examiner Christina Aguilera Pulls a Demi Moore! Man with no arms throws first pitch Chapter Two: Composing for a film in retirement Is Justin Bieber Dating a Model? Guardians of the Galaxy (Trailer) 'Sharknado 2:' Hottest Memes Surfing The Net Snoop Dogg Narrating Animal Footage Is Perfect Raw: Obama Gets Hug From Special Olympian Recapping a Blockbuster MLB Trade Deadline Tigers Acquire David Price - @TheBuzzeronFOX Russell Brand Slams Sean Hannity Over Gaza Conflict Segment Woman's Dive Goes Terribly Wrong Brian Williams Reports on Daughter Allison Williams' 'Peter Pan' Casting News Did Jimmy Fallon Look Up Heidi Klum's Dress? What Drama? Miranda Kerr Poses Topless Plane crashes in San Diego Costco parking lot Justin Bieber Takes To Instagram To Diss Orlando Bloom You Won't Believe the Celeb Cameos in "Sharknado 2"