So that game was a hell of a lot more exciting than it was supposed to be, huh? I had said in the GameThread that this was a game we should win but not to take Gardner-Webb for granted. It's a good team that has played pretty damn well against good competition this year.
Just ask Iowa.
Well, I don't know if the Illini took the Bulldogs for granted, but they played some terrible basketball for the majority of this contest. You can call it jet lag if you want to, but the Illini got home from Hawaii on Thursday, not this morning. I think it was just the layoff after playing four games in six days.
Whatever it was, 18 turnovers is never going to help your case. Nor is allowing your opponent to grab 8 offensive rebounds on 31 missed shots -- or a quarter of the shots they missed.
Thankfully Joseph Bertrand, Brandon Paul and Tyler Griffey were all around to bail us out in key spots. Still, if we play this poorly against Georgia Tech on Wednesday we won't be undefeated for much longer.
-- Okay, so not everything about this game was terrible. As poorly as the Illini played on the offensive side of the ball, their defensive effort was notable. Well, aside from the rebounding. Still, Gardner-Webb shot only 41.5% from the floor and scored 51 points on 53 shots. The Illini also had 9 steals which helped keep the Bulldogs from ever building a substantial lead.
-- Remember how awesome Tracy Abrams looked in the first six games? Well his final line in this game was 0 points, 0 assists and 4 turnovers in 18 minutes. John Groce and the coaching staff yanked him early and looked more than comfortable allowing Joseph Bertrand to run the point most of the night.
-- And Bertrand rewarded them. In his 32 minutes Bertrand finished with 13 points, 3 assists, 6 rebounds and 5 steals, making some key shots along the way.
-- I love you, Tyler Griffey. You're the best.