FINAL: Illinois 79, Purdue 59
Reigning Big Ten Player of the Week D.J. Richardson scored 18 points and Tracy Abrams added 13 as Illinois won its third straight game.
Tyler Griffey added 12 points in a game so lopsided that Matt Painter was ejected for arguing calls in the second half.
Plenty more to come on HQ.
Hale 0-3 2-3 2, Hammons 4-6 2-2 10, T. Johnson 5-11 5-6 18, R. Johnson 4-11 1-4 9, Byrd 3-8 1-1 10, A. Johnson 1-4 0-0 2, Lawson 0-1 0-0 0, Davis 1-4 0-0 2, Carroll 0-0 0-0 0, Marcius 3-7 0-0 6. Totals 21-55 11-16 59.
McLaurin 4-8 0-0 8, Egwu 4-10 0-0 8, Richardson 4-11 8-8 18, Paul 1-6 0-0 3, Abrams 4-9 3-4 13, Bertrand 4-7 1-1 9, LaTulip 0-0 0-0 0, Shaw 0-1 0-0 0, Henry 3-6 0-0 8, Langford 0-0 0-0 0, Djimde 0-0 0-0 0, Berardini 0-0 0-0 0, Griffey 5-10 2-3 12. Totals 29-68 14-16 79.
Halftime—Illinois 43-29. 3-Point Goals—Purdue 6-16 (T. Johnson 3-7, Byrd 3-8, Davis 0-1), Illinois 7-25 (Henry 2-3, Abrams 2-4, Richardson 2-8, Paul 1-4, Shaw 0-1, Griffey 0-5). Fouled Out—Paul. Rebounds—Purdue 34 (R. Johnson 7), Illinois 44 (Bertrand 12). Assists—Purdue 9 (R. Johnson 5), Illinois 14 (Abrams 7). Total Fouls—Purdue 12, Illinois 16. Technicals—Purdue Bench 2. A—13,464.
Illinois 59, Purdue 46 — 10:42 second half
The Illini already have more assists tonight than they’ve had in any Big Ten game this season.
Tyler Griffey hoisted up a three-pointer early in the half and a handful of fans behind us yelled “HEAT CHECK!” Griffey missed.
He missed his next three but he followed his shot (paying attention, kids?) got the rebound, made the bucket and was fouled.
“Got to throw it higher, it was there,” Groce said after Illinois had an alley-oop pass to Nnanna Egwu intercepted.
Groce also told Tracy Abrams to play hard without fouling and spread the message to the rest of the team.
Tracy came back wearing No. 12 after getting blood on his jersey. Tal Brody, whose jersey was raised to the rafters tonight, wore No. 12.
When D.J. Byrd hit a three with Sam McLaurin all over him, Groce turned to the bench and said, “That’s a hell of a shot.”
Very nice to see Demetri McCamey geta nice hand from the crowd when he was shown on the video board. He was a whipping boy when he was here.
Tight deadline, got to wrap this up.
Illinois 43, Purdue 29 — Halftime
That’s the first time the Illini have scored 40 points in the first half in Big Ten play. They had 47 against Auburn at the United Center.
Matt Painter yelled “Motion!” That sounded very familiar.
Painter has ben working on the officials and at least once, he got a call to go in his favor.
“Call it both ways!” is what the fans here are yelling.
The Krush is all over Painter kind of like the Indiana fans used to get on Weber. Not nearly as harsh, though.
None of the Illinois coaches liked the second foul called on Nnanna Egwu. Tom eades hit him with a moving screen.
Paul Klee is at the Colorado State game tonight. He says the Rams have 4,000 students in the house tonight. In Fort Collins. Four-thousand.
In the Chicago Public League, Whitney Young is leading Orr comfortably in the second half. Looks like it will be Young and Morgan Park in the title game.
Sam McLaurin had a nice half for the Illini, doing some dirty work. He already has a season-high eight points. So did Joseph Bertrand and Myke Henry did a nice job at both ends when he got into the game.
Sam got a real nice hand from the crowd when he checked out at the 6:18 mark.
Groce: “Brandon, let’s go, give Richardson a blow.” He said that as Brandon was bringing the ball up the floor.
“Sit down, Keady,” an Illinois fan said near the end of the half.
Illinois shot 17 for 35 (48.6percent) and 5for 14 (35.7 percent) from the three-point line.
Sam McLaurin and Myke Henry each had eight points. D.J. Richardson had seven and Joseph Bertrand added seven rebounds.
Purdue shot 10 for 25 (40 percent) and 2 for 4 from deep.
Terone Johnson led the Boilers with 10 points.
Illinois 19, Purdue 16 — 11:33 first half
Lots of empty seats here tonight. Very surprising considering the run this team is on.
Joseph Bertrand and Tyler Griffey were the first Illinois subs, checking in at the first media timeout.
Illinois started 4 for 6 with all shots coming inside the three-point line. Brandon Paul hoisted up a three after tht and missed everything.
Nnanna Egwu did a nice job of bodying up A.J. Hammons on the first possession of the game. He lost him the next time down, fouled him and A.J. hit a pair of free throws.
That should be a fun match up if the two young big men can stay out of foul trouble.
On the defensive end, the Illinois coaches are yelling at the players to “Keep it tight!”
Tracy Abrams got the ball at the top of the key, unguarded, though about it for a second as John Groce yelled “Wide open” then he drilled the three-pointer to make it 15-11.
Purdue might have figured out Illinois inbounds defense. Matt Painter has yelled a couple of times as Ronnie Johnson to make one hard cut. The second time it resulted in a wide-open layup that Johnson blew.
After D.J. Byrd’s three-pointer, a player on the Illinois bench yelled “Punch them back!” He didn’t mean literally, just to come back with a bucket of your own.
A game after going scoreless, D.J. Byrd nailed a contested three. He thought he was fouled on the play.
Byrd was 0 for his last 10 before hitting that shot.
Purdue (12-12, 5-6) at Illinois (17-8, 4-7) — Tipoff
Tracy Abrams is back in the starting lineup tonight after a one-game hiatus. D.J. Richardson, Brandon Paul, Sam McLaurin and Nnanna Egwu will join him to start the game.
Hale, Hammons, T. Johnson, R. Johnson and Byrd will start for Purdue.
The Illini are wearing new warmup jackets. They’re white and blue and they have hoods on them.
Brandon Paul banked in a halfcourt shot entering the locker room. D.J. Richardson then stole a ball from a manager, did a Dream shake and the buried one from halfcourt.
Tom Eades, Mike Sanzere and Tim Clougherty are your officials tonight.
I saw Jerry Hester bury a three-pointer in his suit from the left wing earlier tonight, too. Everyone is making shots.
Cory Bradford, who made more than a few shots in his career, is on a two-week break from playing in Colombia. He saw the Indiana game Thursday night while his life was watching “The Real Housewives of Wherever”. He loves John Groce and watches as many games as he can on his Slingbox. The 34-year-old says he will play for as long as he can.
They showed a highlight of the Indiana game on the big screen before the game and the crowd cheered Tyler Griffey’s game-winner.
John Groce and Matt Painter greeted one another and shared a couple of laughs. Jamall Walker commented on the Purdue coach’s slimmed-down figure (can you call it a figure on a man?). Painter, who has lost about 30 pounds, brushed it off.
Late-arriving crowd for this one.
Purdue (12-12, 5-6) at Illinois (17-8, 4-7) — 30 minutes before tipoff
Assistant coach Paris Parham was walking around in the pregame checking his phone every few minutes getting updates from the Chicago Public League semifinal game between Morgan Park and Simeon. Morgan Park beat Simeon 54-53 in overtime. There was interest from Parham because Illinois signees Jaylon Tate and Kendrick Nunn were playing. Nunn today was named first-team All-Public League. Tate was a second-team honoree.
You’ll remember the last time those teams played, there was a small fight on the floor afterward and a very senseless murder outside the arena at Chicago State.
Morgan Park coach Nick Irvin guaranteed after that first meeting that his team would win the rematch. He was right.
Orr and Whitney Young will play the second game tonight at Chicago State.
Cory Bradford just showed up wearing an orange Nike jacket and a Bears hat.
Brian Cardinal is also here, representing the John Purdue Club. His dad Rod is making the rounds here in his Illinois gear doing what he does.
A reminder that the 1963 Big Ten championship team, the first to play at the Assembly Hall, will also be honored tonight along with Tal Brody at halftime.
Michael Finke and his family are here, too.
Illinois coach John Groce is expected to hit the road tomorrow to see Desmond Lee, the JUCO guard in New Mexico. His coaches said Groce will be out there tomorrow in Hobbs, N.M. on the New Mexico-Texas border. It’s a two-hour drive from both Lubbock, Texas and Roswell, N.M.
Lee has offers from Baylor, N.C. State and Illinois.
Tal Brody is seated near the Illinois bench. He's taking photos of the crowd with his iPhone.
D.J. Byrd was booed by the fans during introductions.
Purdue (12-12, 5-6) at Illinois (17-8, 4-7) — 60 minutes before tipoff
We’re back from courtside at the Assembly Hall.
Purdue’s A.J. Hammonds arrived pretty early tonight, forcing Griffey and the other Illini to retreat to the south bucket to continue shooting.
Hammonds is a big dude and he’s really become a good player halfway through his freshman season. We might be talking about the big man entering the NBA Draft at this time next season.
Since we’re back in this building for the first time since the Indiana Miracle (is there a name for it yet? Surely you all can come up with something better than what I did), I’m reminded of one of the unsung heroes from that night. It’s Reilly O’Toole, the Illinois quarterback, who sprinted over to Brandon Paul on the east baseline after Brandon delivered the pass on Griffey’s layup and the fans rushed the floor. I believe Reilly kept BP safe.
It was neat to see him join in the celebration. It’s one of those moments all the students who were here will remember forever.
Saw former Illinois coach Bill Self on “Pardon the Interruption” today on ESPN. He’s feeling good again after his Jayhawks ran all over Brice Weber’s Kansas State squad the other night to end a three-game losing skid.
There was a lot of Illinois talk during that broadcast as the ESPN crew talked about the obvious Illinois connections with both coaches. They pointed out that Lon Kruger left Bill Self with some really good players (McClain, Williams, Griffin) and that Self left Weber with some good player (Dee, Deron, Luther) and that Weber has left Groce with good players (D.J., Brandon).
I’m told that Demetri McCamey will also be here tonight. I believe it’s the first time Demetri has been in attendance since his playing days ended at Illinois.
Demetri is playing in the NBA’s Developmental League.
Joseph Bertran got a haircut, he looks a lot more aerodynamic. Dustin Ford just reminded me that Joe hasn’t hit a three-pointer since the Purdue game on Jan. 2. He’s 0 for 11 during the stretch.
Big Ten Player of the Week D.J. Richardson, who turned 22 on Tuesday, greeted good friend Anthony Johnson of Purdue when he came onto the court tonight.
The key, the Illinois coaches told me before the game, is for the Illini to play hard, especially against the Boilermakers. This is a good opportunity to take the wind out of Illinois’ sails.
Purdue (12-12, 5-6) at Illinois (17-8, 4-7) — 90 minutes before tipoff
Good evening from courtside at the Assembly Hall for tonight’s rematch of the Big Ten opener.
As you’re well aware, the Illini have lost eight straight to these guys, they desperately want that to end tonight.
“Us seniors haven’t beat them so it’s definitely a big one for us,” Tyler Griffey said. “We have yet to beat them, so we’re looking forward to it.”
Griffey came onto the court at about 6 p.m. tonight, two hours before tipoff. He had some adoring fans greet him as he was preparing to begin his pregame shooting routine.
“You’re shot is, like, so amazing, I’m sure you’ve heard it hundreds of times. It’s, like, so great,” said the young ladies of the Rip Chords singing group who will be singing the National Anthem tonight.
It was like watching Justin Beiber doing his thing.
Tyler smiled and said “Thank you.”
He also helped the managers get the Gatorade cart straightened out when it was about to tip and dump liquid all over the floor.
Swell guy, that Tyler Griffey is.
I remember at about halftime of the last game played here someone Tweeted me asking why Griffey still plays and that John Groce needed to bench him and give someone else his minutes.
It’s probably good for Illinois basketball that Groce didn’t do that.
Big night here at the Assembly Hall as former Illinois great Tal Brody will have his jersey raised to the rafters along with the other honored jerseys.
I met with Brody on Friday and wrote about him in Sunday’s paper. He’s got an unbelievable story. Here that is.
The Illini Chabad hosted a reception for Brody this afternoon over at the I Hotel.
Cory Bradford is also expected to be in attendance tonight. Matt Daniels is here working with me, he’ll catch up with Illinois’ all-time three-point king.
Myke Henry and Ibby Djimde are out on the floor now, too, and some TV guys are doing live shots from courtside.
I’m headed to radio to jump on the pregame show with Steve Kelly and Loren Tate.
I’ll be back with another update soon.