Sunday, February 15, 2009

Illinois Cruises Past Hapless Indiana, 65-52.

The last time the Illini and Hoosiers met, Illinois stormed out to a 22-1 lead, eventually winning that January 10 contest, 76-45. Since then, Indiana had lost 7 of 8, while Illinois was winning 6 of 9 for a 20-5 record and a national ranking at #22.

This time, playing at home, the Hoosiers didn't look much better through much of the game. Illinois pulled ahead 34-13 with 2 1/2 minutes left in the first half en route to a 65-52 win.

Indiana only made four field goals in the first half, and had seven shots blocked by relentless Illinois defenders. The Hoosiers finished with an 8-4 run, but still trailed 38-21 at the break, on 6-23 shooting (27%).

The Hoosiers made a game of it in the second half, executing better on offense and forcing Illinois into a number of turnovers. Indiana closed to within 6 points with 5 1/2 minutes remaining, but the Illini resisted and held on for the road win.

Though Illinois runs a 3 guard offense, their scoring leaders were their two front court starters, Mike Tisdale and Mike Davis, both of whom led the scoring with 16 apiece. Tisdale's points came on 8 of 12 shooting; Davis registered a double-double, hauling down 12 rebounds.

Indiana's season is a lost one, with only one win (over Iowa) in the Big 10 and a 6-18 record overall, but it can pin its future hopes on sharp-shooting freshman, Matt Roth, who led the Hoosiers with 13 points, including 3 of 6 from 3-point range.

Illinois improved to 9-4 in the conference and 21-5 overall. They trail 10-2 Michigan State by 1 1/2 games in the Big 10 standings.

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