FINAL: Illinois 74, No. 1 Indiana 72
CHAMPAIGN (AP) — Tyler Griffey made an uncontested layup at the buzzer off a baseline inbounds pass and Illinois beat No. 1 Indiana 74-72 on Thursday night, the fifth straight week the nation's top-ranked team has lost.
The Illini (16-8, 3-7 Big Ten) trailed 41-29 at halftime and by double digits for most of the second half before closing the game on a 13-2 run over the final 3:36.
With the score tied, Indiana's Victor Oladipo turned the ball over and recovered to block a breakaway layup by D.J. Richardson out of bounds with less than a second to play.
Griffey, who was open after setting a screen, took the inbounds pass from Brandon Paul with 0.9 second left and gently laid the ball into the basket.
Hundreds of Illinois students rushed the court.
The upset ended a three-game losing streak for Illinois.
The Hoosiers (20-3, 8-2) took over the top spot in The Associated Press' Top 25 on Monday.
No. 1 Indiana 55, Illinois 45 — 11:50 second half
An Illinois fan asked me at halftime “Where did all these freaking Indiana people come from?” My answer: “Indiana.”
Tyler Griffey started the second half for the Illini in place of Sam McLaurin.
Cody Zeller flew into the Illinois bench while saving a ball from going out of bounds.
Tyler Griffey drilled a three from the top of the key and the place went nuts. Good for Griffey. He had missed 22 in a row.
D.J. followed up with another three and cut the lead to six. The place was up for grabs and Crean called a timeout.
Groce then lost it on the table when Hulls got loose for another three right out of the timeout.
Hulls is 3 for 4 from deep tonight. Can’t keep losing him.
Tyler Griffey’s dad, who looks just like him, looks relieved in the front row that his boy got one to fall.
“Tracy, energy, energy, energy,” said Paris Parham as Abrams was checking in.
Indiana can’t miss from deep. The Hoosiers are 7 for 12 from three.
Haven’t seen any Myke Henry since he picked up two quick fouls in the first half. That has a lot to do with how well Tyler Griffey has played.
Illinois is playing with a lot of energy this half, just can’t seem to close the gap much on Indiana.
The Hoosiers are real good. They’ve got a lot of fans here, too.
No. 1 Indiana 41, Illinois 29 — Halftime
Late-arriving crowd with the early tip, but it appears that everyone has filled in — except for those A-section seats behind me that I’m always hearing about.
It looks like Brandon Paul came to play tonight.
Tyler Griffey fired up a quick three and the place was prepared to go bonkers. He missed it. But then the next trip down he got a tip-in bucket.
He passed up a couple of looks the next few times down and they yelled at him to “Shoot it!”
Tyler has been very active.
After Illinois’ shot-clock violation, Groce kicked the scorer’s table, but was careful not to injure himself.
Groce got really mad after a turnover and as soon as the timeout hit he was really positive, clapping his hands. “Come on, men!”
The sons of some of the Illinois coaches have their chests painted.
Simeon beat Harlan tonight in the second round of the Chicago Public League tournament tonight. Jaylon Tate had 14 points in the win.
The quarterfinals are Saturday at Chicago State. Look for a Simeon-Whitney Young championship game.
Groce wanted John Higgins to check Victor Oladipo’s three-pointer late in the half. Higgins wouldn’t do it, said it was clearly a three.
Will Sheehey got a technical after a dunk for taunting. D.J. hit both free throws.
A friend of mine just text and said in his 15-plus years coming to games here, he can’t remember this many fans for the opposing team. Said it’s embarrassing.
Another friend text me to remind that Tom Crean said Jordan Hulls is an NBA guard.
Illinois shot 10 for 29 (34.5 percent) and 4 for 11 (36.4 percent) from three.
Brandon Paul and D.J. Richardson each have eight points. Joseph Bertrand has seven.
Indiana was 14 for 25 (56 percent) from the floor and 5 for 8 (62.5 percent) from long range.
Sheehey has 10 off the bench. Watford and Zeller have eight apiece.
Indiana out-rebounded Illinois 16-13 and each team turned it over six times.
No. 1 Indiana 11, Illinois 11 — 11:58 first half
Lots of Crimson here at Champaign’s Assembly Hall. A huge cheer went up when Christian Watford opened the scoring with a three-pointer on the first possession.
When Brandon Paul shot an airball, some fans chanted “Air-ball” at him.
John Groce is trying to call plays from the sideline “Write it on the board,” he yelled at the assistants, “it’s loud in here.”
The fans are all over Tom Crean. “Crean, you suck!”
Groce is sweating. He just wiped his face down with a towel after a timeout.
Jordan Hulls slipped on the floor at the top of the key dribbling the ball. Looks like he might have tweaked an ankle.
Yogi Ferrell has really improved his jumper. You have to respect it now.
Myke Henry got some early run, but picked up a pair of quick fouls in his two minutes. He was replaced by Tyler Griffey.
Brandon Paul looked like he was headed for showtime on a breakaway dunk. He almost fell and blew it. He ended up with a layup over the front of the rim.
“Good job, Brandon!” Groce yelled with Paul bringing the ball up against some serious pressure from Victor Oladipo.
They just did a timeout promotion and the trivia question was “What was the last No. 1 team to visit the Assembly Hall. The answer is Ohio State in 2011, but they gave the guy the right answer by saying Wake Forest.
No. 1 Indiana (20-2, 8-1) at Illinois (15-8, 2-7) — Tipoff (ESPN)
Lucas Johnson is here. He flopped when Loren bumped into him.His brother Brian is with him, too.
Archibald showed up a few minutes later. He and Lucas bumped into one another. They called one another for a double foul.
Again, the starting lineup will be Tracy Abrams, D.J. Richardson, Brandon Paul, Sam McLaurin and Nnanna Egwu.
Indiana’s going with Yogi Ferrell, Jordan Hulls, Victor Oladipo, Christian Watford and Cody Zeller.
Daniel Borup, an Urbana University High graduate, sang the National Anthem. He was fantastic. Borup sang the anthem at the Braggin’ Rights game this year, too.
Groce tried to seek him out to congratulate him, but Borup couldn’t hear him.
The Orange Krush cheered for Daniel when his name was announced. He’s the president of the Illini Pride.
A good friend wanted me to remind you good folks that Indiana is all high and mighty about its basketball program, but the Hoosiers have only been to two Sweet 16s in the last 20 years.
Also, a rival coach this week said that Gonzaga’s Kelly Olynyk is better than Cody Zeller. True story.
Rayvonte Rice is on the Illinois bench wearing a bright orange sweater.
Vedell Jones Jr., the father of former Indiana guard and Champaign native Verdell Jones III, tells me he’s out of town and won’t make it to the game tonight.
VJIII is playing pro hoops overseas after a solid career with the Hoosiers.
The Krush has noise makers and they’re all holding placards that say “Beat Indiana”.
Tom Crean and John Groce shared a moment together. If my lip-reading skills are up to par, it looks like Crean told Groce he’s doing a great job.
No. 1 Indiana (20-2, 8-1) at Illinois (15-8, 2-7) — 30 minutes before tipoff (ESPN)
Brandon Paul will start tonight, FYI. It will be Tracy Abrams, D.J. Richardson, Brandon Paul, Sam McLaurin and Nnanna Egwu.
Matt Daniels caught up with Sean Farnham who will be calling the game tonight for ESPN.
The former UCLA forward agrees that three players out of the Big Ten — Burke, Oladipo and Zeller — are in the running for National Player of the Year honors.
As far as Illinois is concerned, he says they’re very much on the bubble and Farnham likened the Illini to UCLA when he was a senior.
That UCLA team was 13-11 and Farnham gave a speech at a local gathering and told the people they were going to get into the tournament and make some noise. They did just that. Illinois, in Farnham’s estimation, needs to find a way to get to 8-10 in the league. That means winning six of the next nine games.
Did anyone catch the Hoosiers in their last game, Saturday against Michigan? Apparently a lot of folks did because ESPN said this week it was the most-watched Big Ten game ever on the network. It averaged 4,035,000 viewers. It was also ESPN’s highest-rated college basketball game since last year when No. 6 North Carolina beat No. 3 Duke.
ESPN also announced this week that when the Hoosiers play at Michigan State on Feb. 19 that MSU legend Magic Johnson will join Dick Vitale and Mike Tirico on the broadcast crew. That should be entertaining.
In case you were wondering what former IU coach Bob Knight was up to these days besides wearing sweaters on ESPN, he’s delivering the keynote speech at — wait for it — 2013 Response Expo. That is the country’s leading infomercial convention.
Knight will inspire the crowd of industry professionals with stirring accounts from his years as a coach and how marketing plays a role in the team’s success.
Should be fun.
No. 1 Indiana (20-2, 8-1) at Illinois (15-8, 2-7) — 60 minutes before tipoff (ESPN)
Orange Krush vice president McKennon Biers is here early dressed in an orange blazer, orange pants, a blue tie and he’s placing white towels on all the Orange Krush seats.
D.J. Richardson will be featured on this week’s episode of “The Journey” on the Big Ten Network. The segment will talk about Illinois’ Peoria pipeline that has featured some prominent members of the Illini over the years. The most recent examples include Richardson, Brian Randle, Sergio McClain, Frank Williams, Marcus Grifin and Jerry Hester.
Victor Oladipo is here warming up with his Indiana teammates. He might be the most improved player in the country for what he does on both ends of the floor.
He also might be the best player in the country all together. I know all the early season hype went to Cody Zeller, but Oladipo is the guy who always stands out when watching the Hoosiers.
Mike Rothstein, who covers Michigan football and basketball for ESPN.com, conducts a straw poll of national award voters (including myself) every two weeks and Oladipo was fourth in the latest poll released today. Trey Burke, Doug McDermott and Mason Plumlee are the top three guys right now.
Oladpio is fun to watch.
Both teams are out here now. Indiana looks real loose. Illinois looks focused.
Former WCIA sports anchor Chris Widlic joined us on the pregame show. We addressed something that’s puzzled me for a while now and that’s Cody Zeller’s nickname “Big Handsome.” Chris said Cody says he looks in the mirror and wonders himself where the name came from.
No. 1 Indiana (20-2, 8-1) at Illinois (15-8, 2-7) — 90 minutes before tipoff (ESPN)
Good evening and welcome to the first basketball game at the Assembly Hall featuring a No. 1 team since two years ago when top-ranked Ohio State came to town led by Jared Sullinger, William Buford and Jon Diebler came to town.
The Buckeyes won that game by five.
Marcus Jackson here providing updates throughout the night. I’ll be joined a little later on by Matt Daniels.
We’re expecting a sellout crowd here tonight for this one. Lots of interest in the Indiana program and rightfully so.
Sports information director Derrick Burson has been scrambling all day making sure there’s enough seating to accommodate the demand of media attending the game. Indiana gets some serious coverage and Illinois always has a strong media contingent, especially at home.
Derrick says when asked how many media members he’s expecting “More than capacity.” He said he’s expecting about 175 people including season media, single-game, photographers and television. That’s about 50 more than usual. The last time there was such a media demand was the in 2010 when ESPN's "GameDay" was here for the Michigan State game. Illinois beat the Spartans and the fans rushed the floor.
Wrote today about Brandon Paul and how’s he’s handled the situation of not starting on Sunday in the loss to Wisconsin. To his credit, Paul seems to be handling the deal in a very mature fashion.
John Groce has been very direct about the situation, saying if you don’t play defense at a high enough level, you’re not going to play as much.
He was also direct in admitting he was an Indiana fan growing up in Danville, Ind.
“When I watched Big Ten basketball when I was younger, I rooted for Indiana. I remember getting up, going to church on Sundays, my grandmother would fix fried chicken and at 12 noon the “Bob Knight Show with Chuck Marlow” would come on,” he said. “I used to watched Big Ten basketball, so Illinois games, Purdue games; I was kind of in a pocket there that’s not too far from here, not too far from Purdue, not too far from Indiana so I probably watched those three teams more than anybody that I watched because of proximity and how much they were on television.”
Groce and all the kids in his family did what Grandma did, they didn’t know any better. She was a Hoosiers basketball fan, a Notre Dame football fan, a Bears fan and a Cincinnati Reds fan. His favorite pitcher was Mario Soto.
Mike LaTulip was the first Illini on the floor shooting with managers at the south end. Tracy Abrams, Nnanna Egwu and Ibby Djimde were getting out of the car at the same time I got here.
Tyler Griffey came out a little bit after.
Illinois is wearing white tonight.
I’ll be on the radio for the next half hour with Loren Tate and Steve Kelly for the pregame show. I’ll hit you with another update after that.