Originally posted on The Sports Bank  |  Last updated 3/15/13
The last time these two teams met, it took a furious come back and the last second heroics of Tyler Griffey for the Illini to take down the then top ranked Indiana Hoosiers. On day two of the Big Ten Tournament, there would be no such magic for Illinois. Led by their likely All American center Cody Zeller, the Hoosiers piled on the points against the Illini, keeping them at arms length for most of the 40 minutes of play. Illini coach John Groce threw every defense he could think of against Zeller; Nanna Egwu, Sam McLaurin, Tyler Griffey, and several double teams, but nothing could stop Zeller and the Hoosiers as he amassed 24 points and 9 rebounds. Victor Oladipo, an All American candidate himself amassed a double-double of 12 -11, which included an exclamation point 360 dunk to bring the house down. Equally impressive: Oladipo held Illini star Brandon Paul to 2-13 from the field. And if you’re wondering if the Hoosiers have been holding onto that loss against Illinois back in February, Tom Crean has made sure they did. “These guys have seen the last seven and a half minutes of the game many times, it wasn’t the buzzer beater that lost it, it was the last seven and a half minutes.” Illinois got the game within 8 points for several possessions in the second half, but turnovers and questionable shot selection would keep them from getting any closer. John Groce’s crew did manage to recover somewhat from an awful first half that featured just 7 field goals, but the increase in offensive output in the second half came at the cost of defense, giving up 65% shooting to the high powered Hoosiers offense. “I thought our defense was really, really good in the first half…the second half it flipped, I thought our offense was pretty good but we gave up too many lay ups… When you’re playing Indiana you gotta be good on offense and defense both halves to win.” The Illini go as far as their two senior wings Brandon Paul and DJ Richardson will take them, but the two combined for 4-23 from the field. Losing to the No. 2 team in the country, certainly won’t hurt the Illini heading into Selection Sunday, and the Illini should be safely in the field. Given the way the season ended for the Illini last year, with a total collapse and the firing of Bruce Weber, lots of credit should be given to John Groce for getting largely the same roster back into the tournament this year. The post Zeller, Hoosiers Blow Past Illinois In Big Ten Tournament appeared first on The Sports Bank.Net.
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