The Commercial-News, Danville, IL

Sports

February 16, 2013

Hot Illini take on Wildcats

CHAMPAIGN —  It’s amazing what a little bit of success can do to the morale of a basketball team.

Just a couple of weeks ago, the Fighting Illini men’s basketball team was mired in the midst of a losing streak that saw them drop six of seven games, and the outlook for a return to the NCAA Tournament looked bleak at best.

But that is all in the past now, as the Illini have won their last three games, including quality wins over No. 1 Indiana and at Minnesota.

The Fighting Illini (18-8 overall, 5-7 in Big Ten play), take on the Northwestern Wildcats later tonight in Evanston, and they are trying to avenge a 68-54 defeat at home that put the Illini near the bottom of the Big Ten standings.

In that game, Wildcat transfer Jared Swopshire scored 12 points, and hit several key shots for them. But Swopshire is now lost for the season, and Northwestern has just seven healthy scholarship players on their roster.

As for the Illini players, that first meeting with Northwestern is still fresh in their minds.

Illinois senior transfer Sam McLaurin praised the Wildcats the first time around.

“They carved us up pretty well, and they also shot the ball well,” McLaurin said. “We need to learn how to play better against these teams that have beaten us the first time.”

Illini senior D. J. Richardson, who has been playing well during this stretch of games, thinks that the depleted roster for Northwestern won’t affect them too much.

“Any time you have a team of seven or eight guys, and you know you’re not going to get subs that much, you just pretty much focus on playing basketball.” Richardson said.

In the first game against the Wildcats, Richardson scored 21 points for the Illini in the loss.

Illini coach John Groce thinks that his team has progressed in the past few weeks, and is making strides.

“We are a better team the second time around than when we played them (Northwestern) the first time,” Groce said. “I don’t think that we have reached our full potential, which is a good thing.”

The Wildcats (13-12 overall, 4-8 in the Big Ten) have had their share of adversity this season, already losing Drew Crawford for the season with an injury and JerShon Cobb to academics. Now, with the addition of Swopshire to that list, it really puts Northwestern at a disadvantage.

Groce is amazed that despite all of the missing pieces for the Wildcats, that they still continue to play well.

“They (Northwestern) played very well the other night at Ohio State, and we will certainly have our hands full with them,” Groce said.

Game time this evening with Northwestern is set to tip-off at 6:30 p.m. and can be seen on the Big Ten Network, as well as on WDAN AM 1490 and WDNL FM 102.1 and statewide on the Illini Sports Network.

1
Text Only
Sports
  • SPT - CN0425 - Oakwood baseball main photo Vinson delivers for Oakwood OAKWOOD -- Sophomore Blake Vinson showed maturity beyond his age on Thursday afternoon. The Oakwood right-hander could have easily lost his focus as his infield defense committed seven errors during Thursday's Vermilion Valley Conference baseball gam

    April 25, 2014 2 Photos

  • Vikings fall in the seventh inning DANVILLE -- The Danville softball team went toe to toe with Mattoon for most of Thursday's non-conference game, keeping the game tied at 4-4 through six innings, but in the seventh inning, Mattoon scored three times and Katelyn Fisher came in to get

    April 25, 2014

  • SPT- CN0425 - Bi-County track photo 2 Attica, Seeger win at Bi-County WEST LEBANON, Ind. - The Attica boys and the Seeger girls won the Bi-County Track team titles in a meet held at Seeger. The Red Rambler boys outscored second place Fountain Central 79-56 while the Patriot girls almost doubled the points by second pla

    April 25, 2014 2 Photos

  • Danville late rally falls short at Urbana URBANA -- The Danville baseball team rallied to tie things up with Urbana, but the Tigers scored a run in the bottom of the seventh to get the 7-6 win on Thursday in Big 12 Conference action. Austin West and Nolan First each had two hits and two RBIs

    April 25, 2014

  • Thursday's Local Sports Scores PREP BASEBALL At Urbana Urbana 7, Danville 6 Danville 000 103 2 -- 6 8 3 Urbana 021 301 x -- 7 14 0 WP -- Tauber. LP -- Keegan West (0-3). Two or more hits -- D: Austin West, Nolan First U: Russell, Amaya. 2B -- D: Austi

    April 25, 2014

  • Westville SB 1.jpg Blue Devils run past Tigers

    Bismarck-Henning scored early and often in a win over Westville

    April 24, 2014 2 Photos

  • Seeger BB 1.jpg Mustangs get past Patriots

    Senior Tyler DePugh struck out 13 as the Fountain Central Mustangs defeated the Seeger Patriots.

    April 24, 2014 2 Photos

  • LOCAL ROUNDUP: Tigers squeeze past Blue Devils

    April 24, 2014

  • Local scores and more

    April 24, 2014

  • SPT - CN0423 - Danville girls track photo 1 Record-setting day for Hall DANVILLE -- Athletes, coaches and fans were all giving advice to Danville sophomore Imani Hall in the high jump. While she appreciated the encouragement, Hall just focused on what she had been doing in practice for the past few weeks and it worked. H

    April 23, 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
Raw: Obama Tours Gyeongbok Palace Swimmer Michael Phelps Back in Competition Raw: Obama Lays Korean War Memorial Wreath Obama Leads Naturalization Ceremony in Seoul Calif. School Bus Crash Hurts Driver, 11 Kids Country Club for Exotic Cars Little Science Behind 'Pollen Vortex' Prediction US Proposes Pay-for-priority Internet Standards Wife Mourns Chicago Doctor Killed in Afghanistan FDA Proposes Regulations on E-cigarettes Kerry Warns Russia of Expensive New Sanctions Mideast Peace Talks Stall on Hamas Deal Cody Walker Remembers His Late Brother Paul Grieving South Korea Puts Up Yellow Ribbons Raw: Kerry Brings His Dog to Work Raw: Girls Survive Car Crash Into Their Bedroom Three U.S. Doctors Killed by Afghan Security Yankees' Pineda Suspended 10 Games for Pine Tar Colleagues Mourn Death of Doctors in Afghanistan Ukraine Launches Operation Against Insurgents
NDN Video
Grumpy Cat Not Impressed at "Idol" Is Shaquille O'Neal the World's Best Ex-Athlete? Raw: Obama Plays Soccer With Japanese Robot Behind The Tanlines Jersey Strong Part 2 BASE Jumpers Set World Record Screaming 2-year-old gets psyched at Penguins game Pineda: Put pine tar because he didn't want to hit anyone Beyonce on Her Biggest Influence Michael Strahan's First Day on "GMA" Clerk catches on fire after man throws Molotov Cocktail into Brooklyn store Amazon's Deal With HBO Leapfrogs Streaming Rivals Stephen Colbert Tells David Letterman His Plan for 'Late Show' Georgetown police officer filmed tripping students Viral: It's Not Pitbull - It's Amy Poehler! Recycling Highlights for Earth Day Lupita Nyong'o Named People's 'Most Beautiful' Peeps Launched into Outer Space NYPD's Twitter Request For Photos Backfires New HBO Go Commercials Capture Awkward Family TV Watching Raw: Leopard Bites Man in India