Showing posts with label Illinois Fighting Illini. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Illinois Fighting Illini. Show all posts

Friday, February 08, 2013

Brandon Paul, DJ Richardson Lead Illinois to Upset of #1 Indiana

College Hoops Player of the Day for Thursday, February 7, 2013

Holding onto the #1 ranking in college basketball this season is becoming an exercise in futility, akin to grabbing a live salmon with oiled hands.

The Indiana Hooisers need no explanation or reminder after what happened to them at Assembly Hall in Champagne, as the Fighting Illini came from eight points down with under three minutes to play to defeat the Hoosiers, 74-72, the go-ahead bucket coming on an easy layup by Tyler Griffey off an inbounds pass with 0.9 seconds left.

Griffey, a senior, scored 14 for the Illini, but none were bigger than what was one of the easiest buckets of his career. With the score tied at 72, Illinois inbounded the ball from the sideline, about six feet from the baseline, setting up their players near the perimeter. Griffey slipped by Tyler Zeller and raced to the basket, where the pass from Brandon Paul hit him in stride without no Indiana player within ten feet of him.

Paul scored 21 points, while teammate D.J. Richardson had a game-high 24, eight of them coming on consecutive trips under three minutes when he hit two threes and a deuce to tie the game at 70. The Illini traded a pair of Paul free throws after a Victor Oladipo basket to knot the game at 72, setting up the decisive score.

Richardson was 8-for-15, hitting four of eight from three-point range with three steals. Paul was less accurate, making six of 14 from the floor with three treys, but he added two rebounds, three assists and two steals.

Illinois turned the ball over just nine times, as compared to 14 for the Hoosiers.

Prior to the win, Illinois had lost eight of their last 11 and were just 2-7 in conference play. The Indiana loss produced a three-way tie atop the Big Ten, with Indiana, Michigan and Michigan State each with identical 8-2 records.

Sunday, December 09, 2012

Brandon Paul Keeps Fighting Illini Perfect with 35 Points Against Gonzaga

College Hoops Player of the Day for Saturday, December 8, 2012

With 21 of the top 25 teams in action on Saturday, choosing a single Player of the Day was no easy feat.

There was Cody Zeller of #1 Indiana, who led the Hoosiers to their ninth win without a loss, defeating hopelessly overmatched Central Connecticut State, 100-69.

Zeller, a top early choice for Player of the Year, had one of his best games of the season, scoring 19 points and hauling down the same number of rebounds.

His effort was gargantuan, but so was Russ Smith's game, as #5 Louisville crushed Missouri Kansas City, 99-47. Smith rolled up 31 points on 12-for-18 shooting, including three treys. He also had seven boards, five assists and five steals. Wow!

However, both of those efforts were against inferior opposition by top-ranked teams. For a look at the game of the day, that honor fell to Brandon Paul, the 6'4" senior leader of the 13th-ranked Fighting Illini, who led his squad to their 10th straight win without a loss, handing #10 Gonzaga their first loss of the season (9-1) with a come-from-behind, 85-74, victory.

Paul, who has scored in double figures every game this season, went off for a season-high 35 points on 10-for-16 shooting (5-for-9 on threes), making 10 of 11 from the foul line while adding four rebounds, three assists, three steals and a pair of blocked shots, turning the ball over just twice.

A starter since joining the Illini as a freshman, Paul seems to savor big games against big opponents. His career high of 43 points came last season against the Ohio State Buckeyes, leading his team to a 79-75 win in one of the biggest Big Ten upsets of the year.

The Illini had a rough season, though, going 6-12 in the conference and losing their opening round game in the conference tourney to Iowa, costing them any chance at further post-season play, but the Illini have turned things around this season and appear poised to challenge Indiana, Michigan and Michigan State for league leadership.

Paul's superior performance on Saturday, on the road against an unbeaten, ranked foe, was perhaps this season's top single-game effort of the 2012-13 season.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Illinois Upsets Ohio State Behind Brandon Paul's 43 Points

College Hoops Player of the Day for Tuesday, January 10, 2012

It was a great night for fellows with the surname Paul.

Texas representative Ron Paul scored a clear second in the Republican party's New Hampshire primary, but Illinois sophomore swingman Brandon Paul was first in the hearts and minds of Fighting Illini fans as he scored a career high 43 points en route to Illinois dumping #5 Ohio State, 79-74.

Paul was brilliant, going 8-for-10 from 3-point range and 11 of 15 overall, in addition to hitting 13 of 15 free throws. A homegrown product from Gurnee, Illinois, Paul more than doubled his previous season high of 21, significantly boosting his scoring average which was 12.1 points per game heading into the fray with the Buckeyes..

In addition to producing the second-highest point total in Division I this season, Paul added eight boards, two assists, two steals and four blocks, including a crucial rejection of Ohio State's star center, Jared Sullinger, in the final minute of play.

The unranked Illini improved to 15-3 and 4-1 in the Big Ten. The Buckeyes dropped to 3-2 in the conference, behind a host of contenders led by 4-0 Michigan State, who demolished Iowa, 95-61. Ohio State is 15-3 overall.

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.

Sunday, March 01, 2009

Big Ten: Spartans Clamp Down on Illini

#9 Michigan St. 74, #20 Illinois 66

The Fighting Illini trailed the entire game - by as many as 11 points - against the visiting Spartans, who came in with a 1 1/2 game lead in the Big Ten.

The son of an Illinois legend, Jeff Jordan's (yeah, that Jordan) steal and layup at 7:14 in the second half capped a furious Illinois rally and the first tie in the game since the opening tip.

It was the last field goal the Fighting Illini would score until Chester Frazier dropped in a three with 34 seconds left. By then it was too late as the Spartans clinched at worst a tie for the Big Ten title.

Kalin Lucas had an exceptional game with 18 points. Michigan State's backcourt is as solid as there is in the nation, bestowed with exceptional quickness and ball-handling skills important in post-season play. Spartans' coach Tom Izzo has his troops ready.

Friday, February 27, 2009

Big 10: Purdue Upset, Illinois Cruises

DeShawn Sims poured in 29 points and Manny Harris contributed 27, as the Mihigan Spartans upset #16 Purdue, 87-78.

#20 Illinois won at Minnesota, 52-41, holding the Gophers to 32% shooting.

#5 Memphis won their 324,678th straight Conference-USA game, extending the nation's longest win streak to in a 71-60 win over UAB. The Tigers look like the most solid #2 NCAA seed ever.

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.