The Commercial-News, Danville, IL


March 15, 2013

Hoosiers too much for Illini

CHICAGO —  This time around there were no late-game heroics.

They were not needed as top-seeded Indiana, rated No. 3 in the latest Associated Press Top-25 poll, did just about anything and everything the Hoosiers wanted to do on Friday in a 80-64 victory over the Illinois Fighting Illini in the quarterfinals of the Big Ten Conference Tournament.

“We’re excited about the win,” Indiana coach Tom Crean said. “We thought we defended at a very high level to hold to hold a really good shooting team, and a high-scoring team when they get their offense rolling the way they’re capable of, to hold them down in this game.

“Our whole focus was getting ready to play our best basketball today and hopefully, we play even better basketball tomorrow.”

It didn’t take very long to see that the Hoosiers, who improve to 27-5, were playing close to their best basketball on Friday.

Indiana opened the contest with a 22-7 run with 7-foot sophomore center Cody Zeller scoring eight of his game-high 24 during that stretch and the Zeller, a first-team all-Big Ten selection, capped that stretch with a steal and two-handed slam.

“He ran hard in transition, got some easy baskets,” said Illinois center Nnanna Egwu. “ He puts himself in the best possible position to score. I feel if we couldn’t have cut those easy baskets down and made him work for those points, we would have been in a better position to win this game.

“But, he ran hard, played hard, and he created those opportunities for himself.”

That lead for Indiana was never really challenged.

Illinois, which falls to 22-12, did get as close as 60-52 on a two free-throws by D.J. Richardson with 8 minutes, 17 seconds left. To the fans wearing the Orange and Blue, they probably started having thoughts of Feb. 6 when the Illini rallied to beat the Hoosiers, rated No. 1 at the time, 74-72 on a last-second layup by Tyler Griffey.

“At halftime, we were down 14 (35-21) and in the first game, were down 12 at half,” Griffey said. “So we knew it was possible and we knew we had it in us to comeback on this team.”

But Illinois wasn’t the only team that remembered the only regular-season meeting between the Big Ten Rivals.

Indiana destroyed any thoughts of a comeback as the Hoosiers scored the game’s next five points and Victor Oladipo’s 360-degree slam dunk with 1:37 left sealed the victory.

“We learned from that game,” Indiana’s Christian Watford said. “We looked at the film last night and we looked at some other things. We know we shouldn’t have done some things at the end of that game and we let one get away.

“We knew what they do and we kept grinding it out and kept playing until the final buzzer.”

Indiana also secured its spot in the semifinals by making 11-of-12 free throws in the final 10 minutes, and for the game, the Hoosiers were 21-of-24 at the charity stripe, while the Illini were also a very impressive 19-of-21.

“We closed the game out in the last seven minutes,” Crean said. “We not only defended pretty well, but we scored it very well. That’s the key.

And most important, the Hoosiers did that in both halves on Friday. The same could be said for Illinois.

“I think it was a tale of two halves,” Illinois coach John Groce said. “I thought our defense was really, really good in the first half. In fact, if it wasn’t good, I don’t know … if we would have been down only 14 at halftime. Had our guys not shown the resiliency and toughness that they did in the first half, we would have been down a lot more.

“In the second half, it flipped. I thought our offense was really good and defensively, we weren’t able to stop them. I thought they got too many layups and baskets in transition.

“When you play Indiana, you have to be good in both offense and defense in both halves.”

Brandon Paul, the star of Thursday’s win over Minnesota, was held to 16 points but the senior guard scored 11 of those at the free-throw line. Paul was a dismal 2-of-13 from the field, including making just 1-of-6 from 3-point range.

“They get into you,” said Paul, who was being guarded by Oladipo, the Big Ten’s defensive player of the year. “Obviously Oladipo is a great defender. They play hard. They’re scrappy. That’s something I got to get better at. We missed some shots, but at the same time I was trying to get to the free-throw line. And I think I did that well tonight.

“But some shots just got to fall. They fell yesterday, they didn’t fall tonight. That’s just something that happens.”

And according to senior guard D.J. Richardson, who was 2-for-10 from the field, not getting shots to fall was the biggest problem for the Illinois offense.

“I missed some shots, Brandon missed some shots and Nnanna missed some shots. Tracy (Abrams) did a good job of getting us the ball in positions to score, we just didn’t make the shots,” Richardson said. “We did a good job on our plays, but we missed some shots today that we are capable of making.”

And while Abrams and Paul shared team-high scoring honors with 16 each, the three Illinois guards managed just five assists to six turnovers. Meanwhile, Indiana’s Jordan Hulls, who averages scoring 10.5 points per game, was 0-for-5 from the field and had just two points, but the 6-foot senior guard from Bloomington South had a game-high seven assists and no turnovers.

“Jordan also had a great defensive game, so he really helped us win,” said Oladipo. “He’s one of our leaders, he’s one of our seniors, and he’s very capable of changing the game as well with points.

“When we can win and he only has what? Two points and seven assists? It just shows how deep our team is.”

Indiana finished with five guys in double figures. After Zeller’s 24 came Watford with 15, Oladipo and Yogi Ferrell finished with 12 and Will Sheehey came off the bench to score 11 on 4-of-4 shooting.

The Hoosiers also got a big lift of their bench from sophomore guard Remy Abell, who had five points on 2-of-4 shooting and he also had three rebounds and two assists.

“I thought Abell gave them positive contributions, made a couple jumpers, which he typically doesn’t do that,” Groce said. “Those are big plays.”

Danville Area Community College sophomore guard Andrew Mitchell is Abell’s cousin, and Abell was Mitchell’s representative at DACC’s final home game against Lincoln Land. Mitchell and DACC’s Stephanie Lord were at Friday’s contest at the United Center, seated right behind the Illinois band.

While Indiana advances on to play Wisconsin, a 68-59 winner over Michigan, in a semifinal contest on Saturday, the Illinois Fighting Illini will await a postseason berth on Sunday.

It appears to almost everyone that Illinois will be in the NCAA Tournament for the second time in the past three years, but Griffey, a senior, wants to wait for the official announcement on Sunday.

“We don’t know yet,” he said. “But we’re confident that we still have basketball left, no matter where it’s at or who we are playing.’

Text Only
  • SPT- Cn0418 - Covington softball photo 2 Trojans cruise to victory COVINGTON, Ind. - The Covington softball team had a big first inning as they scored five runs on their way to defeating Attica 11-1. Attica threatened to score in the first, getting Karrah Pattengale to second, but they were unable to drive her home.

    April 18, 2014 2 Photos

  • Lunger steps up for Buffaloes GEORGETOWN -- In only the second start of his career, Georgetown-Ridge Farm/Chrisman pitcher Tyler Lunger pitched a five-hit complete game as the Buffaloes defeated Milford 8-2 on Thursday in Vermilion Valley Conference action. "I feel I threw well

    April 18, 2014

  • SPT - CN0418 - Danville boys tennis photo Maroons blitz young Vikings DANVILLE -- In the process of gaining experience, the Danville boys tennis team has taken a few lumps in the first few weeks of season. On Thursday afternoon, the Champaign Central Maroons delivered a few lessons to the younger Vikings with a 9-0 vic

    April 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • Peelman pitches no-hitter as Vikings beat Maroons CHAMPAIGN -- Alissa Peelman pitched a no-hitter as the Danville High School softball team beat Champaign Central 11-0 in five innings on Thursday in Big 12 Conference action. Peelman was also 3-of-4 with three RBIs for the Vikings while Mackenzie Kin

    April 18, 2014

  • Thursday's Local Scores PREP BASEBALL At Georgetown Georgetown-Ridge Farm/Chrisman 8, Milford 2 Milford 101 000 0 -- 2 5 10 GRFC 200 141 x -- 8 8 3 WP -- Tyler Lunger. LP -- Clayton Rieches. Two or more hits -- GRFC: Dylan Bina, Ethan Silva. 2B

    April 18, 2014

  • 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

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
Raw: Magnitude-7.2 Earthquake Shakes Mexico City Ceremony at MIT Remembers One of Boston's Finest Raw: Students Hurt in Colo. School Bus Crash Raw: Church Tries for Record With Chalk Jesus Raw: Faithful Celebrate Good Friday Worldwide Deadly Avalanche Sweeps Slopes of Mount Everest Police Arrest Suspect in Highway Shootings Drought Concerns May Hurt Lake Tourism Vermont Goat Meat Gives Refugees Taste of Home Calif. Investigators Re-construct Fatal Bus Cras Mayor Rob Ford Launches Re-election Campaign Appellate Court Hears Okla. Gay Marriage Case Author Gabriel Garcia Marquez Dead at 87 Chelsea Clinton Is Pregnant Flamingo Frenzy Ahead of Zoo Construction Crew Criticized Over Handling of Ferry Disaster Agreement Reached to Calm Ukraine Tensions Boston Bombing Survivors One Year Later
NDN Video
My name is Cocaine Lohan Gets Candid About Her Sex List The 2014 New York Auto Show Meet Johnny Manziel's New Girlfriend Chelsea Clinton Announces Pregnancy Funny: Celebrating Easter with Martha Stewart and Friends Man Accuses 'X-Men' Director Bryan Singer of Sexually Abusing Him As a Teenager Man hit with $525 federal fine after he doesn't pay for soda refill Lea Michele & Naya Rivera Feuding? Jabari Parker declares for the NBA draft Singing Nun Belts Out Cyndi Lauper New West, Texas Explosion Video Swim Daily, Throwback Thursday Don't Be A Tattletale: Bad Bullying Tips For Students The trillest thoughts on marijuana "RHOA" Star Charged With Battery Grizzly Bears Get Snowy Birthday Party Weatherman draws forecast when another technical glitch strikes WGN Elizabeth Olsen's Sexy Shoot Bay Area Teen Gets Prom Date With Help From 'Breaking Bad' Star