Illini-Mizzou notebook: Bardo lends a hand

Check out our photo gallery from Wednesday's game here
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Former Illini Stephen Bardo addressed the Illini prior to Wednesday's game. During his time at Illinois from 1986 tot '90, Bardo, who currently works as an analyst at ESPN, never lost to the Tigers.

"For 364 days out of the year, this is St. Louis, Mo.," Bardo said. "But for Braggin' Rights, it's usually St. Louis, Ill. It's been that way for the last decade. I've never seen an Illinois team lose here.

"I told them, 'Look, if Missouri beats you, they beat you. Don't lose the game, make them beat you.' They're beating us."

Like most Illinois players and fans, Bardo, a Carbondale native, has a strong dislike for Missouri, but the disdain stays on the court.

"They had great players when we were there, and how we beat them four straight I don't know," Bardo said. "It's two passionate fan bases, and they can't stand us, and we can't stand them.

"I'll go have a beer with a Missouri fan, but on the court, I'll kill 'em."

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The only St. Louis-area product on the Illinois roster, Tyler Griffey, played sparingly in his first Braggin' Rights game. The freshman from Wildwood, Mo., checked into the game with 7:57 remaining in the first half but didn't have much of an impact.

He scored two points on a layup in the closing seconds of the Illinois loss.

Griffey is no stranger to the game. He attended the last six games, alternating sitting behind the Illinois bench and the Missouri bench, depending on which squad was the home team and could provide him with tickets.

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After the Illini were embarrassed on the boards in Saturday's loss to Georgia, the UI coaching staff placed a strong emphasis on rebounding leading up to the game against Missouri.

It showed in the effort of Mike Tisdale, who reached double figures in rebounding for the first time this season with 12.

The 7-foot-1 junior's previous high this season was nine Dec. 13 in a win against Western Michigan. Tisdale had seven boards in the first half, three of which came on the offensive end.

Tisdale added 14 points to record his second career double-double.

The Illini outrebounded the Tigers 47-37.

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The Illini won the rebounding battle but lost in the turnover margin. Missouri's fullcourt pressure forced 22 Illini miscues. Illinois turned it over 23 times in a win against Boise State on Dec. 5. The Tigers converted those turnovers into 25 points.

"They set the tone in the first three minutes," Illinois coach Bruce Weber said. "They were so aggressive."

Missouri's fast pace led to 22 fast-break points.

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Missouri played much of the game without starting guard Zaire Taylor, who has been sick. Taylor, who came into the game averaging nine points, three assists and nearly three steals, didn't start and played two minutes against the Illini.

His replacement, Michael Dixon, filled in nicely. The 6-1 freshman scored 16 points and had five assists and three steals.

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Brandon Paul checked out one minute into the game after injuring his right root. The freshman was escorted to the locker room by athletic trainer Al Martindale and returned to the floor with about 15 minutes remaining with a heavy tape job on the foot.

He was limited to six minutes in the first half.

The injury was noticeable early in the second half on a fast break when Paul couldn't elevate for a dunk and missed a layup that was tipped in by a trailing D.J. Richardson.

Paul scored five straight points to close the first half to cut the Missouri lead to seven.

Marcus Jackson

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dljonesz wrote on December 24, 2009 at 8:12 am

I'm tired of Bruc always saying the other team "was more agressive".....it's his job to set the tone for that.

RPeterE wrote on December 24, 2009 at 8:12 am

Much taller Tisdale and Davis should have grabbed 20 rebounds, boxed out, prevented all those Missouri put backs and defended the paint. Though their effort improved slightly they and McCamey show no leadership, heart, desire, hunger, gutty determination or character. Missouri did, so did Georgia and Bradley. This Illini team lacks hunger and drive and does not match much less exceed opponents energy and toughness. Weber is showing again, like in 2007-08 that he can't drive, inspire or motivate these Illini to play their best. Once again an opposing coach, Mike Anderson, shows he can do what Illini coach can not do, get his players playing all out with heart, desire and 110% energy! I applaud and salute you Coach Anderson and Tigers!

rmitchell wrote on December 24, 2009 at 12:12 pm

Easier said than done, but just cutting the turnovers from 23 to 12 makes this game a tossup. I thought the guys gave a pretty good effort...not really that far away, IMO.

hardcorefan wrote on December 24, 2009 at 2:12 pm

Rpetere do you always have to comment on everything that happens do you like seeing your name on here as i have been seeing your name from football comments to what they are serving at the school for dinner you always have a comment, i dont think i ever see anything positive just wondering if i could give you a number for fixing that?