Tate: Illini taking steps in right direction

CHAMPAIGN – A revitalized Ron Turner bolstered a listing Illinois football ship on three fronts Wednesday.

First, the UI coach added Top 100 receiver Bryant Creamer of Chicago Simeon as he confirmed 24 signees in the 2004 class.

Illinois men''s basketball box score

Illinois 51, Indiana 49

Bloomington star knows neighborhood

BLOOMINGTON – Two games at Memorial Stadium. Two losses by a combined 85-26. Starting in 2004, Bloomington''s Justin Harrison promises it will get better.

The star safety will sign with Illinois today, one of six 2003 News-Gazette All-Staters to join Ron Turner''s team. None of the new Illini have been on the Memorial Stadium surface as much as Harrison, who twice helped Bloomington to the state finals.

Illinois rejuvenates spirits, title hopes in comeback win

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. – They had been here before and flatlined every time.

At gut-check time, the Illinois basketball team had been gut-punched. A loss to Purdue. A blown lead at Northwestern. An embarrassment at Wisconsin.

Urbana''s Masar staying close to home for soccer

One of the most prolific goal scorers in the area will take her skills to the University of Illinois. Ella Masar, a senior at Urbana, will sign a letter of intent with coach Janet Rayfield''s Illini today.

Masar set an area single-season record with 40 goals while earning coaches'' all-state recognition for an 18-4 Tigers team. Masar needs 10 goals this spring to break Katie Stephens'' school record of 86 career scores.

Tate: Lively Illini defense smothers Indiana sharpshooters

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. – Talk about winning ugly.

Illinois, the team that seemingly couldn''t defend against the hot January shooters from Illinois State, Purdue, Northwestern, Iowa and Wisconsin, fought its way to the most unlikely of victories with ironclad "D" on Tuesday night.

Williams right on defensively

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. – Don''t blame Deron Williams for that crucial foul.

His fourth one? The one that sent him to the bench with 9 minutes to play and Illinois trailing at Indiana?

Asmussen: Weber earns a break

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. – He can run down Green Street. In his old Purdue sweats. Or naked.

He can open his e-mail. Without covering his eyes.

Tate: It''s feast or famine from beyond arc

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. – If there is one area where basketball players don''t need encouragement, it is the three-point shot.

Yet, as important as these arc bombs have become, college coaches often try to discourage them.

Wiliams, Wright learn from each other

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. – One is the setup man, the other a finisher.

This is how it''s always been, since back in middle school when Deron Williams and Bracey Wright first shared a basketball court.