Illinois-Penn State 71 point EXTRAVAGANZA!


By Paul M. Banks and Paul Schmidt

OK, OK, the Illini and the Nittany Lions will probably combine to score more than 71 points tonight.  Most likely the two teams combine to score more than that in the first half, because their defenses aren’t as good as last year. Right?  I hope…

But even if they don’t, the two Pauls will be here to describe all of…umm…the action.

More importantly is the star power in the game, with all of the usual suspects for the Illini, and point guard-offensive savant extraordinaire Talor Battle for Penn State, the game should be entertaining either way. There’s a lot of players involved in this game that should see time in the Association, Battle leading that group.

So strap yourselves in, get under a blanket to stay warm, and make sure you keep the liquor close by (just in case the score is 15-13 at half time…). We’ll have all the action for you tonight!

Two minutes until intros: Please more than 71 points please more than 71 points please more than 71 points…(PS)

Player Intros: Hmm…the Bruce Weber I-Phone touch screen computer intro didn’t run on the scoreboard…it was Bruce’s chance to look like Jack Bauer or one of the guys on NCIS Los Angeles…I feel bad, because in a really dorky, weird way, it was cool.  Not actually cool.  But dorky, weird cool. (PS)

Illinois 5, Penn State 0, 17:32 left 1H: The good news for the Illini is that they are already exceeding the pace of last year’s debacle.  The bad news for Penn State?  They are not…(PS)

Illinois 10, Penn State 9, 15:23 left 1H: Much relief from the crowd, as both teams have almost outscored last seasons’ first half in the first 4:30 of the game.  I promise not to bring it up too much more than I already have, except to say that that was one of the worst basketball experiences ever last year.

So far, a couple things have become clear: The Illini have come out with a ton more energy early on, and have gotten some VERY aggressive contributions from Demetri McCamey, who was a surprise starter this evening. It should also be noted that Penn State’s Talor Battle is going to have a field day this evening, as the Illini don’t have anyone that can defend him. (PS)

Illinois 17, Penn State 16, 11:52 left 1H: The two teams have already scored more points than they did in the first half last season, which Penn State led 17-15.  I’m here for you like that.  Also, at this pace, they are going to blow the point total from last season out of the water…by halftime. (PS)

Illinois 19, Penn State 19, 10:44 left 1H: All in all, the Illini offense is playing with great intesity, if not a little sloppy. Again, though, the defense is really not doing much to contain the Nittany Lion attack.  Talor Battle is having his way penetrating and driving by both McCamey and Jeff Jordan as much as he wants, and either going to the hoop or kicking it out for three. Help defense hasn’t been around all game, and will need to be for the Illini to win this game. (PS)

ILL 23, PSU 21 7:56 left, 1st half: How many guys do you really think will have “association” days ahead here? seriously, Talor should be 2nd round, maybe Brandon Paul, but after that really? McCamey (a future D Leaguer) is leading the game with 7 pts. He is the Illini’s best player- hands down. As long as he outscores Talor Battle we should be good to go tonight. (PB)

Illinois 23, Penn State 23, 5:44 left 1H: Battle will go, I figure Brandon Paul will too.  Davis and Tis both have a shot, and so does DJ if he ever removes his head from his ass. Demetri has a shot, too, honestly, if he can do the same as DJ…(PS)

PSU 28, ILL 23 1:38 left in half: Davis possibly, but he’s just been kind of soft lately, very inconsistent. Tisdale, I would say yes after last season, this year not so much. Chris Babb is your leading scorer now by the way. In case our reader (s..hopefully) have a desire to name someone on Penn St. other than Talor Battle. (PS)

Penn State 28, Illinois 23, 1:35 left 1H: They might have that desire but the question is could they actually have done it?  I’m guessing no.  Illinois has gone completely cold over the last seven minutes…(PS)

Penn State 28, Illinois 23, HALFTIME: Eek.  The Illini didn’t score over the last 8:37 of the first half, but it isn’t like Penn State was lighting the nets on fire, only going on a 7-0 run to end the half. Perhaps even more importantly, the Illini didn’t shoot a free throw in the first half, only drawing three fouls until Penn State smartly fouled to run down the clock and leave the Illini without much of an opportunity to run a play.

The free throw thing becomes even more interesting when you remember that the Illini didn’t shoot a free throw in last year’s entire game here in Champaign…which means it has been 60 minutes of basketball against Penn State here in Champaign where they haven’t even attempted a free throw.  Inexcusable. (PS)

Penn State 28, Illinois 23, Start of the Second Half: Chris Babb is actually your game’s leading scorer, not just Penn State’s…OOF. (PS)

Illini tie it at 28, with 18 min left in game: McCamey hits a big three! crowd starts to show up now. or at least make themselves heard- which hadn’t happened before. It was the icicles outside- seriously. ice was falling, and deemed so dangerous, everyone had to funnel into one entrance. that must have been congested. that’s why it was a late arriving crowd (PB)

PSU 32 Illi 30, 17:19 left

Chris Babb strikes again!! Babb that scoring machine!

Illinois 35, Penn State 32, 16:18 left 2H: And that’s jsut how quickly it can happen! Demetri McCamey has come out SCORCHING hot in the second half, scoring 10 points already, and the Illini hold a three point lead. McCamey also hit the Illini’s first free throws of the night, and of the last game as well at the 17:19 mark, so that drought only lasted 62 minutes and 41 seconds.  Really, not that long at all, umm….

But Cames is on fire. They’ve basically shut down Talor Battle’s scoring which, if you ask me after the game, I probably won’t be able to tell you how they did it.  I’m watching it and I don’t believe it.  There may be hope for this team yet…(PS)

Illinois 38, Penn State 35, 14:15 left 2H: For those of you keeping track at home, it was a Mike Tisdale And-1 that pushed tonight’s score over the top of last year’s contest.  And this time I promise…I won’t mention it again.  I swear. (PS)

Penn State 40, Illinois 38, 11:18 left 2H: You’ve got an Illinois team that is really scuffling to score again here, as McCamey has really gone cold, and no one else is really picking up the slack.

Brandon Paul also hasn’t scored tonight and looks absolutely lost on the court.  I think he caught whatever DJ Richardson had…(PS)

Penn State 48, Illinois 43, 7:51 left 2H: The Nittany Lions were threatening to run away with this one, but Cames drilled a three, and Tisdale just forced a turnover, so the Illini seem to woken up again.  Maybe. 

It should also be mentioned that there are like 2 entrances open to the stadium tonight, as there is falling ice on the outside of the Ass. Hall…though the stadium isn’t totally full, it still looks like there is 14K+ here, which should make leaving real, real interesting.

The Illini are in danger, very real danger, of dropping their 4th straight at home to the Nits, which is just something you shouldn’t say outside the sport of football.  It’s been a bad night. (PS)

Penn State 48, Illinois 45, 7:20 left 2H: I don’t put alot of pretense on being impartial when I’m doing these live blogs, so I’ll just say it:  I heart Mike Tisdale a whoooole bunch tonight.

Also, if anyone knows the whereabouts of the real Mike Davis, that would be great. His imposter really sucks at basketball. (PS)

Penn State 50, Illinois 49 5:00 left 2H: I’m Billy Cole! I’m as black as the ace of spades!  HUGE YOOGE HUUUUUGE Bill Cole three pointer cuts the lead to one. Time out Illini. (PS)

Penn State 53, Illinois 49, 3:02 left 2H: Bruce Weber just claled time out, and the Illini really need a basket here.  No points, and they probably lose. (PS)

Penn State 53, Illinois 52, 2:20 left 2H: Demetri McCamey for THREE! What a shot!  From beyond the NBA three point line, as the shot clock expired! The Ass. Hall just blew up! However the refs REFUSE to call any fouls in the post. On the perimeter, you can’t look cross-eyed at the guy you’re defending or you’ll be whistled, but in the post, you can tackle your man and there won’t be a call. Really just an odd all-around game. (PS)

Illinois 54, Penn State 53, 1:02 left 2H: Demetri McCamey has been an assassin in the second half!  18 points and counting, and his last jumper just gave the Illini a one point lead. It will be interesting to see if Penn State runs clock, or goes for the quick shot. They have a 2-for-1 opportunity here with 1:02 left, and can give themselves the last shot of the game if they are careful. (PS)

Illinois 54, Penn State 53, :19.0 left 2H: Interesting couple of possessions by the Nits, as they got a couple really good looks but no points, and then the Illini managed to track down the rebound (barely), and then turned the ball right back over to PSU — but not before, just before a foul was whistled to save the Illini.  It would have given Penn State a shot at the last shot of the game, but as it is now they are in the position of fouling. Mike Tisdale to the line. (PS)

Illinois 54, Penn State 53 :3.5 left 2H: AND HE MISSES THE FRONT END OF THE 1-and-1!  I HATE that.  HATE IT.  It’s worse than a turnover!

Tis redeemed himself a little with a big blocked shot on Talor Battle at the other end, but he blocked it pretty much out of bounds, meaning Penn State gets one last shot to end this one. Ass. Hall is getting LOUD. (PS)

Illinois 54, Penn State 53 FINAL: Whew. (PS)

FROM THE PRESS ROOM: PB and I will be coming to you with live updates from the post game, including from Mike Tisdale, Demetri McCamey, Ed DeChellis and Bruce Weber. Stay tuned…

Tisdale threw down in the post for 37 minutes tonight, a season high, and he was showing how tired he was after the game. Even though he was exhausted at the end, he had enough for the huge block on Battle as he drove to the hoop with time winding down.

“It was pretty rough out there, and I’m pretty tired. It’s a good thing though, I guess,” Mike Tisdale said. “Talor Battle is going to hit 50 percent of those shots, that’s what I’ve been telling people, so I guess we got lucky and ended up getting the win.”

“I promise we don’t plan to do that,” Tisdale said, drawing a laugh from the room. “We just struggle coming out sometimes. We have to come out more fired up. It’s good we keep our poise, and then we can fight back from a defecit.”

Game hero Demetri McCamey was asked about what was his impending sixth man award, as he had put up great numbers coming off of the bench.  With his surprise start tonight, McCamey scored 25 and dished out 5 assists as well.

“Yeah, that sixth man is probably over with,” McCamey said with a slight smile.

“I hope so, I hope so,” Tisdale added, laughing.

Cames was the master of the obvious when talking about the upcoming Penn State game, however. “Going to Michigan State 4-0 we have all the confidence in the world, it’s better than going in 3-1,” he said, somewhat obviously.

Penn State coach Ed DeChellis spoke about his teams’ game plan — and where it was successful and where it failed.

“We were really trying to contain the ball and contain McCamey the best we could,” DeChellis said.  “We didn’t do a great job of that. Tisdale is a tough match, because we’re not a real big, tall team. We tried to get it out of his hands as much as we could, and I thought in the second half we were ok with that.”

“McCamey, he just drove it, he got into some seams a couple of times, made a nice pass…” DeChellis added. “We’re just young in some spots, and we made a couple of goofy rotations that we didn’t need to make. We left him wide open one time, and guarded 13 (Jeff Jordan), and in general just did some goofy things.”

Illinois head coach Bruce Weber had a lot to say on a variety of subjects after the game, though the first thing on his mind was just how wacky all of the Illinois-Penn State games have been over the last couple of years.

“Obviously you’re happy you won, and that you found a way to win, because we’ve been involved with some crazy games with them over the past couple of years,” Weber said. “Talor Battle, at the end when I shook his hand, he pointed at the scoreboard and said, ‘Coach, it’s fitting that it’s a one point game between Illinois and Penn State.'”

Weber actually had Bill Cole in the game to defend Battle at the end of the game, with 3.5 seconds left, but because of a rotation on screens, McCamey ended up on him.

“Demetri ended up on Battle after the switch, and he stayed in front of him and made him take a long, tough shot,” Weber said. “I saw it go up and I was just waiting for it to go in.”

Weber also talked about the benching — and subsequent reinsertion into the starting lineup — of McCamey.

“I think that I got his attention and made him accountable,” Weber said. “I have talked that I don’t like to play mind-games, but it gets to a point where he has got to show some determination and accountability, and maybe I got his attention. Not only the points, but the 5 assists and only two turnovers. He’s made strides, and I’ve told him that as a point guard your goal is to win games. Maybe he’s taking that on and making sure that we’re successful.”

The Illini started off the game well tonight, but still suffered through a long, long scoring drought covering the last 8:37 of the first half, where they missed 12 straight shots. Weber is still searching for how to halt those.

“We had a horrible scoring drought at the end of the first half,” Weber said. “I thought we started out ok offensively in the first half, and they have struggled a lot on defense. Mike Davis obviously has lost confidence, Brandon Paul is trying to make some plays that weren’t there. So we’ve got some guys struggling.”

Weber said that the blame most likely lies with himself.

“I blame myself a little bit with some of it, because I gave too much freedom early (in the season) on shot selection and now I’m trying to curtail it,” Weber said. “I think some guys, you know, want to just go, but they know coach is saying be careful. And then they are kind of stuck in between, and then they take some questionable shots. We took some bad shots in the first half on a couple possessions there that we needed just a little more patience. We never really got into a rhythm offensively.”


  1. Paul Schmidt says

    Mike Tisdale looking more athletic than Battle! Wow! But the important point is he came over from the weak side to help on D. That’s what they need to see.

  2. paulmbanks says

    grnated it’s not 17-15, but it is ugly. I can’t believe Penn St. doesn’t have their names on the back of their jerseys..and they don’t travel any media. It’s so “mid-major” how can a big ten team me so mid-major? and have won in champaign 3 straight…seriously?

  3. paulmbanks says

    McCamey is the team’s MVP

  4. paulmbanks says

    Andrew Jones…now that he was done with his fine career as an Atlanta Brave is playing hoops for the Nittany Lions.

  5. paulmbanks says

    DEMETRI…..ONIONS!!!!! Ice in his veins

  6. paulmbanks says

    Thrilla in Manilla!!

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