Hoosiers Fall Short Against No. 22 Illinois
Feb. 15, 2009
BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -Illinois' Mike Davis and Mike Tisdale each scored 16 points to lead #22/20 Illinois to a 65-52 win in Bloomington over Indiana, Sunday afternoon.
"They are a very, very good basketball team," said Indiana Coach Tom Crean. "It is very obvious; it should be obvious around the country. I thought they have been ranked too low in the sense of not really getting the respect nationally that they deserve."
For three halves this season, the Illini were able to control the Hoosiers, but Indiana found a way to break through in the second half of today's game and nearly rallied from a 21-point first half deficit in front of a season-high 17,346 fans.
"We are not going to come in just match up with them," added Crean. "We have to come in and we have to play with a fierceness; we have to play with a toughness. The first 20 minutes we made far too many mistakes to give us a shot. We knew they would come out with great pressure; that is what they do."
Illinois led 44-25 with 15:35 to go before Indiana went on a 23-10 run to cut the advantage to 54-48 with 6:27 remaining. During the run, freshman Matt Roth, who led the Hoosiers with 13 points, made a rare four-point play. Freshman Verdell Jones III had two key baskets, and freshman Malik Story added nine second half points to lead the Hoosiers. In addition, freshman Daniel Moore had a key steal and layup to aid the run.
"I will never coach this like we don't have something to lose," said Crean. "But our guys came out with much more spirit and toughness. The crowd was phenomenal. To have this record and be sold out, to have this kind of spirit, it was a great thing. We gave ourselves some chances at the end but the way we played in the first half they had built up a cushion. And we gave them no reason in the first half to think that we were going to come out and fight. Give them credit."
Two areas of improvement for the Hoosiers on Sunday was their perimeter defense and their ability to handle pressure. In their first meeting, the Illini made 13 of 25 from long range, while today they knocked in just three of 10. In addition, Illinois had 31 points off of turnovers in the first meting, but just 12 today as IU.
"I think we have great faith in what we are doing and we all love the game," said Roth. "Once we got into playing the way we are supposed to we had success. Every day is a new day and a new challenge but our coaches have us prepared."
The Hoosiers also played their second game without leading scorer Devan Dumes who was suspended indefinitely seven days ago.
"As for Devan's situation, this is still very much a basketball issue," Crean told reporters after the game. "It is nothing other than that. This is a multiple-incident type of thing in a couple of different games. I have been in consultation with the commissioner(of the Big Ten) and I have been in consultation certainly with Athletic Director Fred Glass. That is where it has stood. Every day is a different day. I fully am ready for him to be back and that is what we are looking forward to right now. Mistakes were made, in the sense of the games, and it has been a heavy price to pay, no question about that. We are just trying to take care of our house the best we can with that."
The Hoosiers will return to action this Thursday night at 9 p.m. against Wisconsin in a game televised by ESPN.
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