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Illinois 84 Chaminade 61: Hu?

The Illini advance to the Maui Invitational final where it will face Butler and the head coach who turned them down last spring, Brad Stevens.

Brian Spurlock

You ever show up to the park to ball with some friends and run into another team of guys who just spend the entire game hacking the hell out of you and look at you like you're crazy if you say anything? That team is Chaminade.

The Silverswords were hacking the hell out of the Illini just about all night, with some guy named Hu being the main culprit. Apparently Hu is Taiwanese for Hack U. I'm not sure what his first name was, but I'm pretty sure that whatever it is, it's the Taiwanese word for flop.

Though it's hard to blame Chaminade for that kind of play on Tuesday night. They were clearly outclassed by the Illini, and while they were able to catch Texas on Monday night, they couldn't do it two nights in a row. While Chaminade hung around for a bit, Illinois never seemed to be in any kind of real danger of losing the game.

As for how we played, we were able to cut our turnovers nearly in half from Monday night, but that number should be less thanks to Hu and his flopability. Joe Bertrand led the Illini with 14 points, as Brandon Paul took a secondary role on offense tonight, choosing instead to hound Bennie Murray all night on defense.

And the defensive end of the ball is where the Illini truly excelled tonight. They didn't even have to foul. The Illini held Chaminade to only 37% from the floor and 32% from deep. They also forced 14 turnovers and out-rebounded the Swords 40-28.

Other Thoughts

-- I was disappointed with the interior play. There were flashes, sure, but this was a Chaminade team without a lot of size. Which means it was an opponent we could have easily exploited in the paint, but when we tried we usually failed. I love Nnanna Egwu's potential on offense, but his ability at this point leaves quite a bit to be desired.

-- We really do love the three. The Illini took 59 shots tonight, with 28 (47%) of them coming from behind the arc. Considering the problems scoring on the interior, this will probably be a theme all season. We're going to live by it and we are going to die by it. For now, we live.

-- The Illini have no scored 75 points or more in all five games this season. They scored 75 or more in six games all of last season.

-- Tracy Abrams was much better with the ball tonight. After turning the ball over 8 times against USC, Tracy only had 1 turnover against Chaminade.