Illinois looked like it might knock IU down a peg in the standings last night. But free throw shooting once again came back to haunt them, as they lost 83-79 in double OT.
What a game, though. Clearly the game of the year in the Big Ten. I’d add “so far,” but I don’t really think anyone will be able to top this one.
I caught just the last five minutes of regulation and the two OTs, but there was plenty of drama built into those 15 minutes:
Shaun Pruitt missing 3 separate free throws that could have won the game. He finished 1-7 from the line. I’m not sure I’ve ever seen a player look as unconfident at the line as he did.
Eric Gordon banking in a deep three-pointer to send the game to the first OT.
Preferred walk-on Jeffrey Jordan (whose Dad used to play some ball up the road in Chicago) playing most of the OTs after Chester Frazier couldn’t go any further on his bad ankle.
Eric Gordon getting the MJ treatment by the refs, getting away with a pretty clearly offensive foul and a travel in the OT periods.
Jordan Crawford hitting a key 3-pointer in the first OT after the ball was kicked to him by Gordon.
All of this in the context of a crowd that held Gordon in major contempt for backing out of his Illinois verbal commitment. Even the Illini players were hostile toward him (and over the line, as Jay Bilas pointed out, with Frazier giving him a nonfriendly chest bump during the player introductions).
IU managed to win despite Illinois doing a fantastic job on Gordon. He finished just 3-13 from the field. He did make 10 of 12 FT attempts, though, to finish with 19 points.
Freshman Demetri McCamey led the Illini with 31 points on 7-13 3-point shooting. Coming into the game, McCamey had been shooting just 27.6% from beyond the arc.
This game is another bad omen for MSU having any shot at the Big Ten championship. IU has only two road games left against top-tier teams. Wisconsin also has two top-tier road games, plus a game at Illinois. Meanwhile, MSU still has to play all of the other top-tier teams on the road plus Illinois. Would have been nice to at least have evened up with IU in the standings for the moment.
College Basketball Chronotope has an IU perspective on the game. He expresses no sympathy for Bruce Weber–but a bit of sympathy for Shaun Pruitt.
Illinitalk has an Illinois perspective on things. Illinitalk’s mom says, “We can play with anybody, but we can’t beat anybody.”