The Illini respond to their loss on the road against Purdue by taking Ohio State out behind the woodshed.
I don't have a lot of time to write this because I need to leave for my niece's birthday party shortly, but I think I can sum up today's game pretty simply with just WEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE. I mean, that came out of fucking no where.
I know I wasn't exactly Mr. Sunshine following the Purdue loss, but even I thought it was possible the Illini could knock off Ohio State today. I mean, it was a Big Ten home game. However, what I did not think was possible was that the Illini would jump out to a big lead from the start and just keep expanding on it all day.
Going with lobs on lobs on OH MY GOD JOHN GROCE IS GOING TO MURDER THAT OFFICIAL.
Statistically this was a game that we shouldn't have won, or at least, one we're not used to winning. We shot only 29.6% from three, and our second-leading scorer was Nnanna Egwu. The crazy thing is, though, we shot nearly 50% from the floor as we somehow figured out how to score regularly without the three-point shot. Kind of like last Saturday against Auburn.
Even more amazing? Well, here's a little bit from this morning's game preview.
While John Groce may be emphasizing rebounding in practice this week, no amount of practice is going to turn this team into a good rebounding team. So Ohio State is going to beat us on the boards.
Illinois out-rebounded Ohio State 39-28.
-- Nnanna Egwu you beautiful bastard. A career high 16 points and 8 rebounds while shooting 70% from the field. A blogger can call in love pretty quickly with a guy who starts playing like that on a regular basis. Sure, a lot of it probably had to do with Ohio State not being the biggest team around, but I don't care. When Nnanna has that kind of advantage the only thing that matters is he takes advantage of it. Today he did.
-- D.J. Richardson did not shoot well. However, while he made only 3 of his 11 shots, all 3 of the shots he made were from three. The first time he's had multiple treys since the Gonzaga win. Hopefully hitting those shots will give him some confidence heading into the Minnesota game.
-- Our assist to turnover ratio is still shit. Yeah, we just beat Ohio State by 19 at home, but we still had 18 turnovers and only 12 assists. This is the kind of thing we can't ignore just because we won.
-- Brandon Paul and Tracy Abrams were the biggest culprits. Sure, BP3 finished with 19 and 7 while Tracy had 13 and 6, but the duo also combined for 11 of our 18 turnovers. Now, that's to be expected considering they're are primary ball-handlers, but handle the damn ball! Though I must point out some of those turnovers came in the second half when the Illini thought they could coast to the finish line before stepping back on the gas.