LIVE! Purdue

LIVE! Purdue

CHAMPAIGN — That 40 minute effort Illinois has been searching for all season. The Illini got in their home finale. At least at the offensive end. Stops were harder to come by, and No. 9 Purdue held on for a 93-86 win.

Leron Black led Illinois with 28 points, Trent Frazier scored 20 points all in the second half, Te'Jon Lucas added 12 and Da'Monte Williams 11 for the Illini.

Be sure to check out Friday's News-Gazette and here at IlliniHQ.com for more from the game.

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Purdue 75, Illinois 68 — 6:42 left in 2nd half

Carsen Edwards is going off for the Boilermakers (32 points), but Illinois is hanging in there with No. 9 Purdue.

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Purdue 64, Illinois 56 — 12:34 left in 2nd half

Trent Frazier didn't have any points in the first half. Now? He's got 10, having made a couple of huge three-pointers since halftime. The only problem is Purdue's had the answer. Mainly Carsen Edwards, who leads all players with 27 points. That's a point off his career high, and there's still 12 1/2 minutes to play. Odds are he sets a new career-best mark tonight.

Mostly, though, Illinois is competing in the second half after doing so in the first. That didn't happen Tuesday night at Michigan State. A possible upset faded rather quickly in East Lansing. It's at least still on the table tonight.

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Purdue 43, Illinois 38 — Halftime

A series of tweets already told the story of the end of the first half once. Follow along again: 

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Purdue 37, Illinois 28 — 4:27 left in 1st half

Turns out leaving Dakota Mathias open at the three-point line is a bad idea. While Illinois' offense has been (rightly) maligned at times this season, the Illini defense has dropped the ball a few too many times in the first half covering Mathias. Missing rotations on one fo the best shooters in the Big Ten isn't advisable. Mathias is 5 of 5 from the field and has made three three-pointers as the bulk of his game-high 13 points.

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Illinois 18, Purdue 17 — 11:46 left in 1st half

One more report from News-Gazette reporter Aldo Toledo, who was outside State Farm Center talking with "Paint the Hall Chief" supporters and protestors before the game.

Brian Green, who was wearing a chief shirt to Thursday’s game: “I don’t think the chief is racist,” he said as protesters chanted those words. “At this point we just have a block “I” as our mascot.”

Kathy and Dan McKenzie, who drove the car that the Chancellor rode on during Homecoming said that while they can’t support their chief at something like the parade, they’ll always wear their chief gear to games. “I do not at all see him as a racist symbol. We’ve seen the chief dance and I get emotional when I see it because it’s so respectful. To us chief supporters, we won’t go down without a fight.”

GEO co-president Gus Wood said he joins protesters today to “stand up against racial humiliation” of native Americans. He said the chief is a dehumanizing symbol and compared this protest to the struggle between the GEO and the university. “It’s a sign that the university is ignoring people on campus. They’re ignoring the university community.”

A few people, as they passed by protesters to get inside the stadium, said under their breath: “Isn’t this silly,” “this is so overblown,” and “the chief is already gone, what do they want.” Others voiced their apathy: “they can do whatever they want,” said a few. A Purdue fan said “this is funny. I wouldn’t want that (the protest) before a game against us.”

 

But let's not forget the game.

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Illinois 10, Purdue 9 — 15:53 left in 1st half

Apparently starting suited Te'Jon Lucas tonight. The sophomore guard not only hit a mid-range jumper, but he also knocked down a corner three to score Illinois' first five points of the game. Then ol' reliable Leron Black scored five straight points of his own, including the three-pointer that put the Illini ahead here at the first media timeout.

That's how Black can get the better of Purdue center Isaac Haas — pull him away from the basket as much as possible. Make him do a little chasing on defense. Make him move. Black has shown some ability to get his shot off the bounce. He'll have a speed edge on Haas. Tonight would be the right night to run that out a little more.

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Illinois vs. No. 9 Purdue — 6 p.m., FS1

A couple quick notes with tipoff fast approaching here at State Farm Center.

— Illinois has a brand new lineup (sort of) for tonight's game. For the first time this season, the group of Trent Frazier, Te'Jon Lucas, Mark Alstork, Kipper Nichols and Leron Black will start together.

— Purdue, playing without Vincent Edwards, has replaced him in the frontcourt once again with Grady Eifert. The rest of the Boilermakers' starters are as expected: Carsen Edwards, P.J. Thompson, Dakota Mathias and Isaac Haas.

— Tonight's officials are D.J. Cartstensen, Gene Steratore and Rob Kueneman. 

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Illinois vs. No. 9 Purdue — 6 p.m., FS1

The Boilermakers are ... big. At least Illinois can take solace in the fact Vince Edwards won't play. Him at the 4 just adds crazy length on the wing (because there's only room for Isaac Haas in the paint).

"I think you pick your poison against them," Illinois coach Brad Underwood said. "It’s what makes them so efficient so offensively. You determine whether you’re going to give them threes, which means you double or run somebody at (Haas), or let him play one-on-one in the post.

"That’s something we’re still going to figure out and look at. As always with us, our perimeter defense has to be our best post defense in terms of the catches have to be extended. We have to get (Haas) off the block. We’re sure not going to win a wrestling match with him."

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Illinois vs. No. 9 Purdue — 6 p.m., FS1

Our Aldo Toledo is reporting on scene outside State Farm Center covering "Paint the Hall Chief" night and the protest.

From Eric Schacht, who was outside with a megaphone and leading chants: "I've lived in Champaign my whole life, and I'm an alumnus of the law school. I used to think the Chief was cool, but then I realized it didn't matter what I thought. It matters how people offended feel."

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Illinois vs. No. 9 Purdue — 6 p.m., FS1

As promised, some actually basketball discussion before tonight's basketball game. Two things of note to get us started. First, Michael Finke is dressed and went through the first part of warmups. That's another good sign after he traveled to East Lansing, Mich., and went through shootaround before Tuesday's game against Michigan State and then practiced yesterday in preparation for today's game against Purdue.

Also this:

Here's an interesting story from Tuesday night. Brad Underwood very nearly didn't start Leron Black against the Spartans.

"My worst nightmare happened," Underwood said. "I knew they would start their seniors and having him pick up a foul against those guys (which happened) was one of my biggest concerns. I’m also didn’t start him — seriously, didn’t start him — because of that. We managed that and were able to get him in and out of the game a couple times without picking up a third."

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Illinois vs. No. 9 Purdue — 6 p.m., FS1

A couple "Paint the Hall Chief" night and the accompanying protest updates. Don't worry, basketball updates coming, too.

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Illinois vs. No. 9 Purdue — 6 p.m., FS1

There's not just basketball happening tonight at State Farm Center. A clash between opposing sides in the Chief Illiniwek battle is also apparently on the docket. One part of the fan base has deemed today's game "Paint the Hall Chief" night. Opponents have asked authorities to stop the event (which has no direct tie to the game) from happening.

Our Julie Wurth has had the story covered from the beginning. Read more here and here. And we'll have more as the night unfolds.

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Believe it or not, we've reached the final home game of the 2017-18 season. With Senior Day taken care of this past Sunday, tonight is all about basketball. Illinois (13-16, 3-13 Big Ten) will square off against No. 9 Purdue (24-5, 13-3) in about an hour.

It's the Illini's second straight game against a top 10 opponent and the third of four games in an eight-day span to end the regular season. Illinois last played just 48 hours ago, losing an 81-61 game at No. 2 Michigan State. While Purdue will be playing without starting forward Vince Edwards, the Boilermakers still present a rather big challenge.

See what I did there? It's a big challenge because Purdue has a pair of 7-footers. One is an absolute mountain of a man in 7-2, 290-pound center Isaac Haas. The othe is 7-3 redshirt freshman Matt Haarms, who is the personification of length.

The Illini are, in a word, undersized. After going 6 of 23 on layups at Michigan State — only partially impacted by Spartans shot blocking extraordinaire Jaren Jackson Jr. — Illinois will run into more interference in the paint tonight. Shooting better than 26 percent on literally the easiest shot you can get will be important for the Illini tonight. Every night, really.

Our coverage is just underway, but now is the perfect time to catch up on what you might have missed from the past couple days here at IlliniHQ.com:

Lineups, storylines and the beat writer's pick for tonight's game

New Hall of Fame class announced, headlined by Lou Henson

Spartans' success is what Brad Underwood wants

Postgame video with Underwood following loss at Michigan State

Illinois did not grade out well in East Lansing

Illini miss their most vocal guy

CHAMPAIGN — The steps to Michael Finke's comeback from the concussion he suffered in a Feb. 10 practice have been subtle.

Like simply being able to sit on the bench while he was sidelined. He did so Sunday as Illinois took down Nebraska, but it was something the Illinois athletic training staff had him avoid a week prior as not to exacerbate the symptoms of what was his second concussion in 17 months.

Finke also traveled to East Lansing, Mich., for Tuesday's game against No. 2 Michigan State a week after he didn't make the trip when Illinois played at Indiana last Wednesday night.

Being an active, full participant in Wednesday afternoon's practice was another step toward getting Finke back on the court. Whether he'll play in today's 6 p.m. home game against No. 9 Purdue remains to be seen.

"He has to do a certain amount of workouts without any repercussions," Illinois coach Brad Underwood said. "We'll see how that goes."

To continue reading, click here. Then keep coming back to IlliniHQ.com for more before, during and after tonight's game.

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GLG wrote on February 22, 2018 at 7:02 pm

 If any trouble would break out it would be the anti Chief leftwing recationary nut cases! Just like they did at the Homecoming parade!  Head case Kaufman yelling and raising hell to the chancelor and other people in the parade, thats what these folks do when they don't get their way!  Anarchists and they should be trated as such!  Hats off to the FOX Sports 1 Network for all of the close ups of Chief supporters in their Chief gear!  Has anyone seen Jay Rosenstein lurking in the mens room dressed up like a real journalist? Wearing his 1940's Fedora hat  with the big "Press" card stuck in the hat band  like Walter Winchell used to do ? If anyone has pictures of him or Kaufman please post them!  

"Oski Wow Wow"!!!

CallSaul wrote on February 22, 2018 at 9:02 pm

It's been over a decade since the racist moldy old ex mascot was tossed into the trash where it belongs with the other garbage, stereotypes, caricatures and tokens of racism and bigotry...

How long are the bitter chicken feather 'chief' clingers going to keep ginning up stunts like this...?

Why can't they let it go and allow us to move on from that closed and shameful chapter out of our past...?

cjw61822@hotmail.com wrote on February 23, 2018 at 12:02 pm

Just watching you lose your mind  over this is the entertainment of the week.

jjohnson wrote on February 22, 2018 at 9:02 pm

So is hatred only bad when it is something attributed to a "racist"? That rant just above this comment is patently offensive and the self-righteousness falls on someone who most certainly does not deserve it. He or she should be ashamed and not pleased.

CallSaul wrote on February 22, 2018 at 10:02 pm

If you're able to find something I said in a newspaper comment section so tremendously offensive, can you try for even just a second to imagine how offensive the racist old chicken feather 'chief' ex mascot is...?

rsp wrote on February 23, 2018 at 12:02 am

Is it possible to go to a basketball game without having to rehash this thing over and over?

The protesters had to stand behind a line and stay outside because no protesting allowed inside the building. Kinda funny how a pro chief group was allowed to pass out pro chief flyers for people to wave. Passed them out inside to people at their seats and instructed them to wave them. They had a large picture of the logo on one side, other side had directions of the time. Staff watched as people ran around doing this.

Why can't people who have paid to go see a game, many with their families, be left alone to enjoy a night out and to support the team?