The Commercial-News, Danville, IL

Sports

January 18, 2013

Wildcats surprise Illini

CHAMPAIGN —  Illinois head coach John Groce tried to ignore the subject of his team losing confidence this past week, but judging by the play of the 23rd-ranked Illini on the court Thursday night against Northwestern, it may be hard for him to avoid the issue when it comes up again.

The Wildcats came in to Champaign coming off a 20-point defeat at home to the Iowa Hawkeyes last weekend and totally dominated the Illini — leading from start to finish en route to a 68-54 win in front of a stunned capacity crowd at the Assembly Hall in Champaign.

The Illini certainly didn’t help their cause in the game, committing 18 turnovers as they continually had a habit of making bad decisions, while also having a difficult time defending Northwestern’s Princeton style offense.

“Obviously us playing not very well, and them playing well led to the outcome of the game, but I appreciate our team’s effort in the second half. This is the second game in a row that we let the opponent be the aggressor, and that has to change,” Groce said of his team’s effort.

The Illini, who look like an entirely different team lately than the one that can claim wins over Ohio State, Gonzaga and Butler earlier in the season, are trying to avoid a collapse similar to the one that transpired last season under then-coach Bruce Weber.

After starting the season at 12-0, the Illini now have lost five of the last seven, and are currently in the midst of a three-game losing streak.

“The players are still acclimating to the system, and we want them to be aggressive, but need to balance it by playing within the system.” Groce said.

Groce made a change in the starting lineup, going with senior transfer Sam McLaurin over Tyler Griffey, who had been struggling with his shot during the past few games.

“McLaurin did things intangible-wise that the team needed, and we wanted to give Griffey some different work, and he responded well as a result,” Groce said.

Groce also received his first technical foul of his Illini tenure, but declined to elaborate on what may have been the cause of the infraction.

Another aspect of the Illini offense that has disappeared is the long-range shooting. Early in the season, the Illini were among the best in the nation from beyond the arc, but after Thursday night’s woeful 3-for-20 from 3-point range, it is a cause for concern.

“Needless to say, it’s a very good win for us, coming in here and defeating them in their house,” Northwestern coach Bill Carmody said. “Our defense was solid tonight, and we made shots, which always helps, especially on the road.”

With the win, Northwestern improves to 11-8 overall and moves ahead of Illinois in the Big Ten standings at 2-3. The Wildcats were led in scoring by Reggie Hearn, who had 20 points. Jared Swopshire and Alex Marcotullio each added 10 for Northwestern, who shot just over 47 percent from the field for the game.

Illinois, who falls to 14-5 overall and drops to 1-4 in conference play with the loss, was led in scoring by Brandon Paul, who scored a game-high 21 points. Tracy Abrams was the only other player to score in double figures for the Illini with 10 points.

“From the tip of the game, you have to be the aggressor. When you dig yourselves a hole like we have done the past couple of games, it is hard to get out of,” Abrams said.

Paul, who tried to bring the Illini back in the game, admitted that as a captain, he needs to step up and rally the team.

“Me and Tracy have to do a better job of facilitating the offense, and as captains, that job falls to us,” Paul said.

The Illini won the battle on the boards, out-rebounding the Wildcats 30-24,

The Illini will have a few days to think about the loss before again taking the court, going on the road to Lincoln, Neb. to face the Cornhuskers, a team that embarrassed them a year ago at the Devaney Center.

Game time with Nebraska next Tuesday night is set to tip off at 7:30 p.m. central time, and will be televised on the Big Ten Network. The game can also be heard on WDAN AM 1490 and WDNL 102.1, as well as statewide on the Illini Sports Network.

 

1
Text Only
Sports
  • No Headline Provided TODAYLocal TennisMcTagertt Tournament at Fountain CentralProspect League BaseballDanville Dans at Hannibal Cavemen, 7:05 p.m.SUNDAYLocal TennisMcTagertt Tournament at Fountain CentralProspect League BaseballDanville Dans at Springfield Sliders, 5:05

    August 2, 2014

  • No Headline Provided College Football Schedules All times Central ILLINOIS FIGHTING ILLINI Aug. 30 Youngstown State 11 a.m. Sept. 6 W. Kentucky 11 a.m. Sept. 13 at Washington 3 p.m. Sept. 20 Texas State TBA Sept. 27 at Nebraska 8 p

    August 2, 2014

  • 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

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"