Thursday, December 31, 2009

Illinois Drops Northwestern in OT, Open Big Ten with Win

College Hoops Player of the Day for Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Ranked #25, Northwestern University was hoping for good things from its basketball program heading into Big Ten play at Illinois Wednesday night. What they got was stunned in OT by the Fighting Illini, 89-83, sent home to consider their dubious future, including their next game, hosting #10 Michigan State, on January 2nd.

The Illini joined Purdue and Minnesota atop the Big Ten standings with 1-0 records. Though Illinois has already suffered defeat four times, they are making a habit of beating lower-ranked teams. Beck on december 2nd, they upset then-#18 Clemson on the Tigers' own wood, 76-74. Leading the charge against Northwestern were juniors Mike Davis (20 points, 17 rebounds) and center Mike Tisdale, who led all scorers with a career-high 31 points and hauled down 11 rebounds for his second straight double-double performance.

The Wildcats had no answer for Tisdale whenever he was able to get his hands on the ball in the paint. He hit 11 of 14 shots from mostly point-blank range. The two teams battled to a 74-all tie at the end of regulation, but Illinois outscored the Wildcats, 15-9 in the extra session. It was the 11th straight time Illinois has beaten Northwestern.

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