Big win last night for Illini basketball last night/early this morning as DJ Richardson drained a 3-pointer from the corner to beat Hawaii in overtime 78-77.
Illinois fought uphill all night....getting down by as many as 16 points at one point. They withstood a last second basket by Hawaii to tie the game and send it in to overtime. The Illini fell behind by 5 points again in the extra period...but fought their way through it to get the win.
A couple of thoughts:
1) it was great to see this group of Illini experience a thrilling win like that and to overcome a lot of adversity in the process. They had an awful stretch of self-doubt and disappointment in the second half of last year and I am so happy for those young men.
2) Feel badly for my friend and broadcast colleague Jerry Hester who apparently found out minutes before the game last night that his father had passed away unexpectedly on Friday. What a shock that must have been. My thoughts and prayers are with Jerry during this time. I dont know what his plans are yet for the rest of the trip.
3) Felt really weird to be listening to an Illini game after all these years and not doing the game. Due to the football and basketball crossover schedules...and where the basketball game was being played (Honolulu)....there was no way to get back and forth and do both sports on this weekend. I will be leaving on Sunday morning for Maui. My thanks to Steve Kelly for pinch-hitting for me...and for bringing home an exciting win!
4) Finally.....2:00 am in the morning is really late to be listening to an overtime basketball game. But I made it!
Talk to you soon!