Men's Basketball

Men's Basketball

Defenders bring out Bradford''s best

   PEORIA  Cory Bradford asked to sit down when reporters swarmed him after Monday''s Illini win against Bradley.

   Seems he was out of gas after being hounded by one of the Missouri Valley Conference''s top defenders all game long.

The red carpet

   PEORIA  Lon Kruger will face one of the toughest crowds of his coaching career today at the Peoria Civic Center. And the fans at the Illinois-Bradley game should be pretty rowdy, too.

   Seven hours before tonight''s tipoff, Kruger will speak at a luncheon hosted by Bradley boosters. They have four or five of them a year, whenever there''s a big game that night. But they''ve never flown in ESPN personality and Bradley grad Charlie Steiner from Connecticut to emcee the thing, like they are today. And they''ve never needed 2,000 sets of silverware, like they will to accommodate today''s lunchtime crowd at the Civic Center.

Williams a scary sight

CHAMPAIGN – In the latest issue of ESPN the Magazine, a creepy-looking Frank Williams is pictured lying in a casket, wrapped up in mummy tape, bugs buzzing all around him.

Now if that doesn't put a fright into foes, nothing will.

Johnson pays tribute

CHAMPAIGN – People can joke all they want about the hideous mask protecting Lucas Johnson's broken nose. But it was a different piece of equipment that was Johnson's inspiration Friday night against Western Illinois.

On his left forearm, the Illini sophomore wore a piece of tape bearing the number 21. That number was worn by former UI guard Matt Heldman, his brother Brian's roommate who died in an automobile accident in October.

Manual steering

CHAMPAIGN – If you liked what you saw out of Marcus Griffin, Sergio McClain and Frank Williams on Friday night, get ready for Monday.

Western Illinois was just the warmup.

Illini vs. Western Illinois - Box Score

Game 1 Box score and Illini Schedule and Results

Illini vs. Western Illinois - Game 1 Review

Review of Illinois'' 76-53 victory over Western Illinois.

Bradford three, easy for Illinois

   CHAMPAIGN  It took Cory Bradford all of seven seconds to pick up where he left off last season.

   Early against Western Illinois on Friday, last season''s Big Ten Freshman of the Year squared up from the left corner and buried a three-pointer to give the Illini a quick lead.

Johnson can't mask discomfort

He will be introduced at tonight's season opener as Lucas Johnson, only because Sergio McClain's not at the mike.

Otherwise it'd be:

Straight shooter

There's only one thing Lon Kruger's college coach used to enjoy more than winning.

Doing it against the shysters and swindlers of the sport.