Marcus Jackson's quick take on Sunday's win at the Assembly Hall:
Illinois took what John Groce called a haymaker from Gardner-Webb, falling behind by as many as eight points, before leaning on its upperclassmen in the second half and got a big-time three-pointer from Tyler Griffey late to escape with a win to keep the record unblemished after seven games.
WHAT THE BULLDOGS SAID
“I figured that Illinois was going to have to play through some jetlag and if there was ever a time to catch a really hot Illinois team, it was probably right now. We probably caught them at a good time.” — coach Chris Holtmann
WHAT THE ILLINI SAID
“(Gardner-Webb) deserved it, they did. But, as I told the guys in the locker room, we’re not going to give it back. We’re not going to do that.” — coach John Groce
WHAT IT MEANS
The Illini don’t wilt under the pressure when things don’t go according to plan. For the second time this season, they took a big-time shot from an opponent and kept their poise to come from behind to hit a big shot in the closing seconds to come out on top. They’ll be popped a few more times throughout the course of the season and these experiences will help.
A home game Wednesday against Georgia Tech in the Big Ten/ACC Challenge. The Illini have won three straight in the annual event pitting the two power conferences\, but the last time a Brian Gregory-coached team came to the Assembly Hall, Dayton ran past Illinois 77-71 in the NIT.