Fueled in part by a skirmish between Kendrick Nunn and DJ Newbill that saw Newbill ejected, the Illini pulled away in the second half to win comfortably over Penn State 75-55 to improve to 2-0 in the Big Ten. Let's get to my nominees for the Dick Van Dyke Appliance World "WOW!" Play of the Game. You can vote for your favorite in the comments below.
I have to go with the Nunn layup followed by the Newbill ejection. After that basket, it was still just a nine-point game, and the Illini pulled away shortly thereafter.
Tracy Abrams had a very nice second half for the Illini, and he talked with Brian & Jerry about it after the game.
And, head coach John Groce was thrilled by the defensive effort today for the entire 40 minutes. He thought the offense moved much better in the second half.
Let's get to today's efficiency stats. I've started keeping track of FTA/FGA, as a good indicator of how often the Illini are taking the ball to the basket. They did very well there today.
That was a complete second half for Illinois today, as they maintained their defense from the first half, while improving in every offensive category in the final 20 minutes. Up next, no big deal. Just #4 Wisconsin in Madison. Piece of cake, right? Thanks for reading.
Just once, I wish Illinois and Penn State could play an attractive basketball game. Woof. The good news is that the Illini played pretty good defense, but they really struggled in the last few minutes of the half, going scoreless in the final 3+ minutes to watch a 28-17 lead shrink to 28-26. Here are the first half (lack of) efficiency stats:
Hoping that the Illini can pull away in the second half. More coming up after the game.