Thursday, February 12, 2009

It's Not Over...

...'til it's over. Even though this one looked like it was over with 5 minutes left, the Illini down 14, Northwestern dictating pace and hitting wide-open shots.

But Trent Meacham decided he didn't want to lose. So he scored 12 points in the last 5 minutes. And Demetri McCamey, who kept the Illini close most of the game, decided to help him. The last 5 minutes was almost a 2-man show, with Trent and Demetri taking over. And Demetri proved he could make good decisions under pressure. He was looking for Davis on the last possession, but when Mike wasn't ready for the pass, McCamey kept the offense running until he got an open look -- and the win. Illinois 60, Northwestern 59.

The Illini didn't deserve to win this game for several reasons:

The Illini hung in all game. The Wildcats opened with a quick run. The Illini fought back within 6 points. The Wildcats went on another run. The Illini fought back again. They even tied it at 20 points each. The Wildcats went on a run. The Illini fought back. The Wildcats went on a run...

But the Illini did what Northwestern couldn't do -- they closed out the game strong.

The last 5 minutes, the Illini played like the team we've seen play in Champaign. Bruce's boys finished on a 17-2 run. They forced turnovers. They blocked shots. They overcame poor free throw shooting and missed layups. They made good decisions. They got stops. They didn't give up. And so, they earned this win, even though it was ugly.

Trent finished 15 points, 2 assists, 2 steals and a block. Demetri led with 21 points, 6 rebounds, 5 assists, and a steal. Chester added 8 assists, for a total of 19 on 26 baskets.

This was a heartbreaker for Northwestern, who is fighting for their first NCAA Tournament berth. But it was a huge boost for the Illini. We'll take the win as we head to Bloomington this weekend.

Go Illini!

Labels: , ,

<< Home |

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?