The Commercial-News, Danville, IL


January 10, 2012

Big Ten big dog up next for Illini

CHAMPAIGN — Illinois coach Bruce Weber called wins last week over Northwestern and Nebraska “masterpieces.”

That’s because his Fighting Illini were without senior guard Sam Maniscalco against the Wildcats (57-56) and then against the Cornhuskers (59-54) they were still missing Maniscalco and junior D.J. Richardson basically played with just one hand.

“They weren’t beautiful by any means, but to find a way to win was unbelievable for our guys,’’ said Weber, putting them into perspective. “Do we have to get better? Heck, yeah, and it’s got to be fast.’’

That’s because Illinois (14-3 overall, 3-1 in the Big Ten) will welcome one of the league’s big dogs to the Assembly Hall.

The Ohio State Buckeyes (15-2, 3-1) under the direction of former Hoopeston standout Thad Matta will look for their sixth straight win over the Illini.

“Obviously, we have a big challenge,’’ Weber said.

And one of the biggest factors in tonight’s contest, which tips off at 8 p.m. on ESPN, figures to be sophomore All-American Jared Sullinger, who is averaging 17.1 points and 9.8 rebounds a game.

“I’m not sure there is a good approach, because you have such other good weapons and he has such great poise,’’ Weber said.

Those other weapons for Ohio State are guards Aaron Craft, William Buford and Lenzelle Smith along with forward Deshaun Thomas.

“We have to come out and guard, we can’t come out and think we are going to outscore them,’’ said Illinois guard Brandon Paul, who figures to get the assignment of guard Buford, who is second on the team in scoring at 15.4 a game.

“At the same time, we have to run our offense and get good shots,’’ Paul said.

And according to Weber, that isn’t going to be easy against this group of Buckeyes.

“Their defense seems to be better at this point,’’ Weber said. “Last year, they could score with anyone. This year, they are still very good scorers, but the difference in their defense has been very good along with rebounding.’’

Ohio State is averaging 78 points per game, while allowing just 54.9 a game.

On the other hand, Illinois is scoring 68.2 a contest and the Illini are allowing 60.2.

And while the coach is pleased with the last two victories, the Illini nation doesn’t see it the same way.

A cascade of boos filled the Assembly Hall at halftime of Saturday’s game with Nebraska.

“Yeah, we hear it,’’ Paul said. “You have to play the game the way it’s supposed to be played.’’

But, a miracle win tonight over the fifth-rated Buckeyes could change everything.

“It can change very quickly in sports,’’ Weber said. “We are a young group and we are getting better.’’

And what is the coach hoping for tonight?

“We need a Bronco win, a Tebow experience,’’ said Weber referring to the Denver Broncos’ 29-23 overtime victory against Pittsburgh on Sunday behind quarterback Tim Tebow.

A big factor in tonight’s contest figures to be the battle inside between sophomore centers as Sullinger, the Big Ten Player of the Week, will go against Meyers Leonard, the 7-1 big man for Illinois.

“Jared is a great player, one of the best bigs in the country. It will be a great matchup for me,’’ Leonard said. “He knows how to use his body well, good at drawing falls, very skilled and knows the game.

“With my athleticism and the length, maybe I can give him some troubles. But if he buries me under the basket, it will be tough.’’

While both players are sophomores, Sullinger started all 37 games last year, averaging 17 points and 10 rebounds a game.

Meanwhile, Leonard averaged just 8 minutes a game a year ago and just 2.1 points a contest.

“I’ve had some ups and downs,’’ said Leonard, who is averaging 12.9 points and 8.0 rebounds a contest this year. “I’m a playing sophomore, but I’m still somewhat of a freshman as college basketball goes.

“It’s been tough, a lot of teams has been keying on me these days. It’s been tough finding different ways to score. I just have to keep getting better and improving.’’

Weber admitted part of that improvement for Leonard is maturity.

“The example that I brought up is Sullinger,’’ Weber said. “I asked (Meyers) what is Sullinger’s greatest attribute last year as a freshman?

“Meyers said his hook, and this and that.’’

Weber didn’t agree.

“It was his poise,’’ he said. “He had to deal with so many people doing so many things against him.

“Those are the things that Meyers can get better at.’’

Coach Lou Henson honored at halftime

Former Illinois coach Lou Henson will have a banner, honoring his many achievements, raised at halftime of tonight’s game.

Henson, who is celebrating his 80th birthday tonight, is the winningest coach in school history with 423 victories over 21 years. He ranks fourth in Big Ten history in overall wins and conference wins as well with 214.

In his career, Henson led the Illini to 12 NCAA Tournament appearances and the 1989 Final Four.

Other coaches to be honored this season will be Harry Combes, Doug Mills and Ralph Jones.

Text Only
  • SPT- CN0726 - Dans photo 1 Dans make most of second chance DANVILLE — Baseball can be a funny game, and as often is the case, a player can be the goat one minute, and the hero the next.Trevor Rucker blooped a shot down the right field line that caromed off the glove of Hannibal second baseman Jeff Smith to d

    July 26, 2014 2 Photos

  • SPT- CN0725 - Dustbowl photo 2 Stars advance to boys final DANVILLE — The 42nd Annual Dustbowl action continued Thursday at David S. Palmer Arena with the High School Boys basketball division in full swing as four games were played and all eight teams participated. In game one of the winner’s bracket of sem

    July 25, 2014 2 Photos

  • SPT - CN0725 - Atwood photo Baseball community to honor Atwood DANVILLE — Whether it was working on the field or running a tournament, there wasn’t anything that Frank Atwood wouldn’t do for the game of baseball.His love for the game created numerous opportunities for the youth of the Danville area as Atwood ser

    July 25, 2014 1 Photo

  • Dans get a split of doubleheader with Cavemen HANNIBAL, Mo. — The Danville Dans won the first game of a doubleheader with the Hannibal Cavemen 3-1 on Thursday before losing the second game 5-3 to get a split.In the first game, Corbin Olmstead pitched seven innings with eight strikeouts to get th

    July 25, 2014

  • Danville Post 210 Speakers fall to Rantoul CHARLESTON — Playing five games in five days finally took its toll on the Danville Post 210 Speakers.Rantoul’s Tanner McLain delivered a game-winning, two-out single to left to give his team a 6-5 victory over Danville in an elimination game of the F

    July 24, 2014

  • Juniors continue to play at Danville Tennis Open DANVILLE — The juniors were still on the court in the Greater Danville Tennis Open on Wednesday as three division titles were given out.Rachael Lewis won the girls 18 and under singles title with a 6-0, 6-0 win over Lauren Ellis, while the team of Er

    July 24, 2014

  • SPT- CN0723- Dans photo 2 Thurston gets first win DANVILLE — Getting those Ws is the goal of every pitcher.Danville’s Chase Thurston has been seeking his first collegiate victory all year. The former Danville High standout finally got it on Tuesday night when the Danville Dans defeated the Springfie

    July 23, 2014 2 Photos

  • SPT- CN0723 - Dustbowl photo 1 Shooting Stars sprint past MB Squad DANVILLE —Tuesday’s action from the Dustbowl at the David S. Palmer Arena featured two games in the Girls High School Division with two local teams — MB Squad and Shooting Stars — squaring off in round-robin play to advance to Sunday’s championship.

    July 23, 2014 2 Photos

  • Pitching boosts Speakers CHARLESTON — The Danville Post 210 Speakers’ pitching is coming along at the right time.With strong performances from Austin Millholland and Dalton Strawser, the Speakers defeated Piatt County 5-1 to move on in the Fourth Division Tournament.“The sto

    July 23, 2014

  • SPT - CN0722 - Post 210 Baseball photo 1 Speakers stay alive TILTON — Danville Post 210 baseball got their revenge Sunday afternoon and did it in style. After losing to Shelby County in the Fourth Division Tournament opener on Saturday, Danville had to win two games on Sunday if they wanted to advance and keep

    July 22, 2014 2 Photos

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
Raw: Massive Dust Storm Covers Phoenix 12-hour Cease-fire in Gaza Fighting Begins Raw: Bolivian Dancers Attempt to Break Record Raw: Israel, Palestine Supporters Rally in US Raw: Palestinians and Israeli Soldiers Clash Raw: Air Algerie Flight 5017 Wreckage Virginia Governor Tours Tornado Aftermath Judge Faces Heat Over Offer to Help Migrant Kids Kerry: No Deal Yet on 7-Day Gaza Truce Kangaroo Goes Missing in Oklahoma More M17 Bodies Return, Sanctions on Russia Grow Gaza Residents Mourn Dead Amid Airstrikes Raw: Deadly Tornado Hits Virginia Campground Ohio State Marching Band Chief Fired After Probe Raw: Big Rig Stuck in Illinois Swamp Cumberbatch Brings 'Penguins' to Comic-Con Raw: Air Algerie Crash Site in Mali Power to Be Restored After Wash. Wildfire Crashed Air Algerie Plane Found in Mali Israel Mulls Ceasefire Amid Gaza Offensive
NDN Video
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 Bradley Cooper Explains His Voice in 'Guardians of the Galaxy' Deja vu: Another NYPD officer choke-holding a suspect 'Fifty Shades of Grey': Watch the Super Sexy First Trailer Now! Reports: Ravens RB Ray Rice Suspended For 1st 2 Games Of The Season Air Algerie plane with 119 on board missing over Mali Diamond Stone, Malik Newman, Josh Jackson and others showcase talent Free Arturo - The World's Saddest Polar Bear A Look Back at Batman On Film Through The Years LeBron James -- Dropped $2k On Cupcake Apology ... Proceeds To Benefit Charity Snoop Dogg Says He Smoked Weed at the White House Raw: Fight Breaks Out in Ukraine Parliament Chris Pratt Interrupts Interview To French Braid Intern's Hair Shirtless Super Mario Balotelli Dances While Ironing - @TheBuzzeronFOX Whoa! Watch "Housewives" Star Do the Unthinkable LeBron apologizes to neighbors with cupcakes Justin Bieber In Calvin Klein Underwear Shoot