The Commercial-News, Danville, IL

Sports

January 22, 2013

Illini focus on execution

CHAMPAIGN —  

Illinois men’s basketball coach John Groce doesn’t see a million things wrong with his Fighting Illini.

Yes, his team has lost three straight and five of their last seven but he has a simple plan to get things turned around.

“We are just trying to execute better, play a little bit better,’’ he said. “We need to do things better — both offensively and defensively.’’

That sounds simple enough.

Illinois will attempt to end its losing ways tonight with a 7:30 p.m. contest in Lincoln, Neb., against the Nebraska Cornhuskers.

A year ago, Nebraska humiliated Illinois in Lincoln with the Cornhuskers earning an 80-57 victory.

Groce said that game hasn’t been part of the Illini preparation as Illinois is coming off a 68-54 loss last Thursday at home to Northwestern.

“Right now, I think it’s more of an execution issue where we have to play better,’’ Groce said. “We have to make better plays. We have to take care of the ball better, and we have to shoot better. We have to defend better. We have rebound consistently. We have screen better. We have to move the ball better.

“All those little details matter. We’ve got to play better if we want different results.’’

And, according to Groce, it’s not like this team hasn’t played well this season.

Illinois, who has been rated in the Associated Press Top 25 until this week, has wins over No. 9 Butler in the championship game of Maui Invitational, and a win at No. 10 Gonzaga.

Additionally, the Illini, who are 14-5 overall and 1-4 in the Big Ten, got their only league victory over No. 14 Ohio State.

“They know they have the capability of playing better,’’ Groce said. “They have played some really good basketball this season.

“We don’t have an effort issue on our team. We just need to execute better.’’

And while Illinois is trying to break a losing streak, Nebraska (10-9, 1-5), snapped a five-game losing skid on Saturday with a 68-64 win over Penn State.

Freshman Shavon Shields scored a career-high 29 points for the Cornhuskers, who also got 15 points from Ray Gallegos and 12 points from Brandon Ubel, who was returning after missing two games with an elbow injury.

“It starts with (Dylan) Talley and Gallegos — their two guards — those guys can put big numbers up,’’ said Groce as Gallegos and Talley are combining to average 26.1 points per game. “They are both explosive scoring.

“With Ubel being out, (David) Rivers and Shields had to amplify their roles a little bit.’’

Senior Brandon Paul continues to lead Illinois in scoring, averaging 18.2 points per game. Paul is also the team leader in rebounding with 4.9 per game.

Sophomore guard Tracy Abrams leads the Illini with 3.2 assists per game and he is second in scoring (11.9).

For the first time all year, Illinois changed its starting lineup last Thursday against Northwestern.

Senior Sam McLaurin got the start over senior Tyler Griffey, who came off the bench with six points and a season-high six rebounds.

“I thought Tyler played really coming off the bench,’’ said Groce about his lineup for tonight. “More than likely that’s the way we are leaning.’’

Tonight’s game can be seen on the Big Ten Network and it can be heard locally on WDAN-AM 1490 and WDNL-FM 102.1.

Text Only
Sports
  • 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

  • SPT - CN0729 - Brickyard photo Gordon kisses 'The Bricks' for 5th time INDIANAPOLIS — The common gift for a 20th anniversary is either china or platinum.But for Jeff Gordon on Sunday, he was more interested in the PPG Trophy made of gold, sterling silver and alloy aluminum and the native of Pittsboro, Ind., wasn’t going

    July 29, 2014 1 Photo

  • Old friends meet again in city tourney DANVILLE — Gene Gourley and Bryan Stine have a lot of history on the tennis court. The two of them, who have been playing each other at the Danville Tennis Center for over 20 years, renewed their rivalry again on Sunday during the Greater Danville Ar

    July 29, 2014

  • SPT - CN0729 - Junior Dustbowl photo Free throws decide junior Dustbowl title DANVILLE — In the boys’s Division it was DV Stars vs. Squad for the Championship with the Squad coming back from an early 16-point deficit to beat DV Stars 59-55 in overtime. Squads Parker Lee made one of two free throws with 18 seconds left in regul

    July 29, 2014 1 Photo

  • Keys leads College Girls to Dustbowl title The girls division championship between County Girls and College Girls was a close battle between two fine teams. The College Girls never trailed in the second half and squeaked out a victory over the County Girls 32-29.After a timeout was called by

    July 29, 2014

  • SPT - CN0729 - Big Ten Media mug Big Ten unveils new look CHICAGO — Welcome to the new look Big Ten.The Big Ten Conference held its 43rd annual Football Media Days on Monday at the Hilton Chicago and in the first day of the two day event, a lot of different topics were discussed, and a few more concepts fo

    July 29, 2014 1 Photo

  • Danville splits series with Quincy QUINCY — Former Danville High standout Chase Thurston had a season-best performance for the Danville Dans on Sunday.Thurston tossed six shutout innings to pick up his second win in a row as the Dans defeated the Quincy Gems 3-1 in a Prospect League W

    July 29, 2014

  • Local Sports Calendar TODAYProspect League BaseballHannibal Cavemen at Danville Dans, 6:30 p.m.WEDNESDAYProspect League BaseballHannibal Cavemen at Danville Dans, 6:30 p.m.THURSDAYProspect League BaseballWest Virginia Miners at Danville Dans, 6:30 p.m.TODAYMajor League Ba

    July 29, 2014

  • Prospect League Glance COLLEGIATE BASEBALLProspect League GlanceOverall StandingsEast Division W L GBx-Chillicothe Paints 35 17 —Butler Blue Sox 34 19 1.5West Virginia Miners 34 19 1.5Richmond RiverRats 19 32 15.5Lorain County Ironmen 19 34 16.5Champion City Kings 19 34 16

    July 29, 2014

  • NASCAR Brickyard 400 Auto Racing [Duplicate] Harvick sets the pace at Indy INDIANAPOLIS — Growing up in Bakersfield, Calif., IndyCar driver Rick Mears was the childhood hero for Kevin Harvick.Mears is one of three men to have won four Indianapolis 500s and he has won a career-best six poles for the “Greatest Spectacle in Ra

    July 27, 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
US Ready to Slap New Sanctions on Russia Kerry: Not Worried About Israeli Criticism Boater Rescued From Edge of Kentucky Dam Girl Struck by Plane on Florida Beach Dies Rodents Rampant in Gardens Around Louvre House to Vote on Slimmed-down Bill for Border Looming Demand Could Undercut Flight Safety Raw: 2 Shells Hit Fuel Tank at Gaza Power Plant Raw: Massive Explosions From Airstrikes in Gaza Giant Ketchup Bottle Water Tower Up for Sale Easier Nuclear Construction Promises Fall Short Kerry: Humanitarian Cease-fire Efforts Continue Raw: Corruption Trial Begins for Former Va Gov. The Carbon Trap: US Exports Global Warming Traditional African Dishes Teach Healthy Eating
NDN Video
Weird 'Wakudoki' Dance Launches Promotional Competition Two women barely avoid being hit by train Chris Pratt Adorably Surprises Kids at a 'Guardians of the Galaxy' Screening Chapter Two: Designing for Naomi Watts NOW TRENDING: Peyton Manning dancing at practice "The Bachelorette" Makes Her Decision Thieves pick the wrong gas station to rob Golden Sisters on '50 Shades' trailer: 'Look At That Chest!' Staten Island Man's Emotional Dunk Over NYPD Car - @TheBuzzeronFOX GMA: Dog passes out from excitment to see owner Baseball Hall of Famers Inducted 'Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1' Sneak Peek Florida Keys Webcam Captures Turtles Hatching Morgan Freeman Sucks Down Helium on 'Tonight Show' Robin Wright Can Dance! (WATCH) She's Back! See Paris Hilton's New Carl's Jr. Ad Big Weekend For Atlanta Braves In Cooperstown - @TheBuzzeronFox Chapter Two: Becoming a first-time director What's Got Jack Black Freaking Out at Comic-Con? Doctors Remove 232 Teeth From Teen's Mouth