By Paul M. Banks
I still can’t believe Demetri McCamey, the Illini’s best player JUMPED UP ON THE SCORER’S TABLE after the game as the students stormed the court! And I have the Flipshare video to prove it. I guess Cames was emulating Syracuse’s Eric Devendorf last year during the legendary 6 OT game vs. UConn, in which the white trash looking former collegiate player seemed to exclaim “are you not entertained?!” a la Maximus in “Gladiator”. “I was just saying this is my house,” McCamey explained to the media following Illinois’ 78-73 upset of #5 Michigan State.
Soon I’ll share that video of McCamey celebrating with the fans, as well as my awesome pics from, as Bruce Weber said in the postgame presser, “a tremendous day for our program”.
Led by McCamey’s double double (game high 22 points, 11 assists, just two turnovers) and a blistering shooting night 8-12 fg, 6-9 from behind the arc, the Illini got their first win over a top 5 team since the ’05 Final Four. Yes, the Spartans were without Kalin Lucas, but we can discuss that at another time. And the move by the Orange Krush (not all the fans, nor a big chunk of the arena- just the student section mind you) was a very polarizing move. But we have footage of that and we’ll break it down like the Zapruder film later.
To put it simply, this signature win joins the triumphs over Vanderbilt and Clemson, giving the Illini three key wins to balance out the UGLY losses of Georgia, Utah and Bradley. Now my magic number of 12-6 in conference to luck up a tourney bid, seems very doable. At 16-8, 8-3 in Big Ten play, they just have to finish out 4-3. it won’t be easy as the next three are against top 20 competition.
The embattled Mike Davis sealed the win by blocking Durrell Summers’ potential game tying three point attempt, and then an emphatic dunk on the other end. And the crowd feeding of the energy from the presence of ESPN College Gameday (and the 600 free Red Bulls that were distributed) were an essential part of this season-making victory. “They were our sixth man tonight. every time they made a run they just got louder…and with the Krush on the court later it was a great feeling,” Davis said.