After a tough couple of weeks in the University of Illinois athletic world (football losing streak growing...coach gets fired...etc)...it was great to see some smiles on an Illini team flight home Tuesday night/ early Wednesday morning.
The Illinois basketball team won a big game in a tough environment in Maryland onTuesday night. Struggling junior Brandon Paul had his best game of the season....keeping the Illini afloat in the first half as Maryland grabbed a 9-point lead at one point. Then Bradley transfer Sam Maniscalco hit a series of big shots late that helped the Illini walk out of the Comcast Center with a 9-point victory.
It was another nice step forward for this young Illini team...and it really was a team victory. Tracy Abrams had some solid minutes. Nnanna Egwu came up with some key offensive rebounds. Meyers Leonard had a pretty good night in the post. Paul was a force on the defensive end as well as having a good night on offense. Griffey hit a big shot. And of course....Mansicalco hit the go-ahead basket in the second half and made play after play down the stretch. Richardson hit some key freethrows at the end.
And...Bruce Weber now has 200 wins in his career at Illinois.
A fun night....and a big win.
Next up: Gonzaga on Saturday at 2:15 pm
Meanwhile the search continues for a new head football coach.....so stay tuned.
I will be chatting live on HQ at 11 am on Thursday morning December 1st. I will talk to you then.