Illinois basketball CRUSHES Northwestern by 21, redeeming previous loss

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Illinois basketball (19-8, 6-7), erased the second worst blemish on their NCAA Tournament resume by paying back Northwestern Sunday night at Welsh-Ryan Arena in Evanston. On January 17th the Illini never led in a 68-54 defeat. Tonight Illinois basketball responded with a more than convincing 62-41 victory

Northwestern (13-13, 4-9) endured a scoring drought of ten minutes which allowed the Illini to build a 30 point lead. The nearly 3/4 Illinois basketball favoring crowd at Welsh-Ryan was empathetic and gave a bronx cheer when James Montgomery III finally ended the drought. Northwestern shot only 25 percent for the game. It’s Northwestern’s lowest point total since 2008 when it scored 37, also  against the Illini.

northwestern dance team

Illinois is shooting 43.4 percent from the field and 36.1 percent from 3-point range in its 12 games away from home, an increase over the UI’s 42.3 percent shooting from the field and 30.8 percent from 3-point range in its 14 games at Assembly Hall.

D.J. Richardson (18 points, 8 rebounds tonight) has scored in double figures in each of the last seven games – his career-long streak in Big Ten play – averaging 17.1 points over that stretch (120). He is shooting 42.3 percent from 3-point range over the last seven games (22-52) after shooting 21.6 percent from behind the arc over the previous eight games (11-51). The Wildcats have defeated the Illini twice in a season just three times, most recently in 1966.

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“They seemed to have a little more pep in their step, and we really couldn’t get too much going,” Northwestern coach Bill Carmody said of the Illini.

Illini coach John Groce was proud of the way his team defended. Getting better on D, communication got better and he said they Played “exceptionally hard.” And point guard Tracy Abrams has been playing exceptional since his benching. “Tracy Abrams was off the charts,” Groce said.

Paul M. Banks is CEO of The Sports Bank.net, a Google News site generating millions of unique visitors. He’s also a regular contributor to Fox Sports, MSN, Walter Football.com, Yardbarker, and Chicago Now

A Fulbright scholar, published author and MBA, Banks has appeared on live radio all over the world; he’s also a member of the Football Writers Association of America, U.S. Basketball Writers Association, and Society of Professional Journalists. The President of the United States follows him on Twitter (@Paul_M_BanksTSB) You should too.

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