Jim Rossow

Jim Rossow

Illini coach helps guard find old self

   LAHAINA, Hawaii  Cory Bradford didnt need his hotel room phone to get a message Tuesday. His coach dropped by to deliver the news.

   He told me to be my old self, the Illinois guard said. He told me to relax and have confidence and play the way Im used to playing.

Illini dispatch Maryland, await Arizona

LAHAINA, Hawaii – Not that long ago, a win against the country’s sixth-ranked team and the opportunity to meet No. 1 for a tournament title would have sent Illinois rushing to the gift shop for postcards.

Somebody back home was going to hear about it.

UI shows mettle with tournament turnaround

LAHAINA, Hawaii – Of all the places to finally become tough, Illinois picks Maui, where grass skirts are on every corner, flowery shirts are on every rack and little umbrellas float in every fruity drink.

So what if the Illini breakthrough was accompanied by a cool ocean breeze and a lei around their necks? Bill Self would let his players wear sandals to the gym if they continue to show the resolve they did in Monday's late-night tournament opener.

Cook hits boards with relish

LAHAINA, Hawaii – Brian Cook watched Michael Wright's rebounding act Monday morning. Later that night, he nearly duplicated it.

The Illinois sophomore grabbed a career-high 14 rebounds to help the Illini rally past UNLV 74-69 in Monday's Maui Invitational opener for both teams. It topped his previous best of 10 against Ohio State in February and was the most for an Illini since Damir Krupalija's 16 against Indiana on Jan. 3, 1999.

NCAA proposal threatens tournaments

LAHAINA, Hawaii – The flight takes a semester, a five-minute cab ride costs more than a turkey and the locals drive like it's Sunday morning all the time.

But it's hard to find a coach or player who wouldn't return to the Maui Invitational in a second.

Illinois faces UNLV big man in first round

LAHAINI, Hawaii – The shadiest casino in Las Vegas offers better odds than the ones Bill Bayno and his long-shot UNLV Rebels face at the Maui Invitational.

To win the tournament, the Rebels likely would have to beat three top-10 teams: No. 8 Illinois, No. 3 Maryland and No. 1 Arizona.

Maui Invitational no day at beach for mainlanders

It's not Louisville or Illinois or even No. 1 Arizona that concerns Gary Williams the most.

It's the Maui sun that keeps the Maryland coach up at night.

"It's a different sun than you'll find at home. It's a hotter sun," he said. "Ask Jay Burson."

Smith snags Illini catch of day

   EVANSTON  Dwayne Smith''s performance Saturday reminded him of the time he scored five touchdowns against Urbana in the first half of a Big 12 game his senior season.

   The Rantoul product scored his first two college touchdowns and caught a career-high eight passes in Illinois'' season-ending 61-23 defeat against Northwestern. The eight receptions were the most for an Illini this season.

Harvey keeping score

EVANSTON — Short in stature, Rocky Harvey is long in memory. So count on a big game from the Illinois tailback next Thanksgiving, when Northwestern visits Memorial Stadium.

Harvey had to be restrained by UI coaches after getting into a shouting match with several Northwestern players after the game. Linebacker Kevin Bentley, cornerback Harold Blackmon and Sam Simmons led a group of Wildcats to the south end zone, where they placed a Northwestern helmet on Hannibal, their wildcat statue. After the UI’s win two years ago in Evanston, George McDonald-Ashford did the same thing with an Illini helmet.


Northwestern 61, Illinois 23