Game Notebook: Carlwell offers needed energy to Illini squad

Game Notebook: Carlwell offers needed energy to Illini squad

By Jason Grodsky

CHAMPAIGN, Ill. – In 11 minutes of playing time Illinois freshman forward Brian Carlwell provided the Illini with the boost they needed to get past Jackson State.

Carlwell finished the night with just four points and two blocks, but his presence on the court was his biggest contribution to the Illini. When Carlwell was on the court for the Illini, they outscored the Tigers 28-12.

Carlwell first entered the game with the Illini down 18-9, but helped cut the Tigers’ lead to 22-17 with his two lone baskets of the game.

After a short rest that saw Jackson State rebuild its lead to 31-21, Carlwell reentered the game with 3:53 left in the first half.

Following his return to the court the Illini went on a tear to cut and helped Illinois go on a 13-3 run to end the first half and tie the game at 34-34.

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“Brian Carlwell gave us great energy,” Weber said. “We were able to get the ball inside a couple of times to get some easy layups.”

Since deciding not to redshirt on Sunday Carlwell has played 22 minutes, scored nine points and has grabbed six rebounds for the Illini.

Illini foul shooting woes continue

Coming off a game in which Illinois shot a dismal 44.4 percent on 12-27 shooting from the free throw line the Illini took just a tiny step forward.

Illinois took 21 free throw shots against Jackson State but made just 52.4 percent of them.

The Illini found itself at the free throw line early and often against the Tigers but couldn’t capitalize on their free throw opportunities. The Illini shot just 8-for-12 in the first half despite being in the bonus with 12:59 left in the first half.

In the second the Illini’s free throw woes continued. Illinois shot just 33.3-percent despite going to the line nine times and making just three free throws.

The Illini’s best free throw shooter on the night was senior forward Warren Carter who was 8-for-10 from the line, while sophomore guard Chester Frazier went just 2-for-6.

“Warren made free throws but no one else did,” Weber said. “(Chester) makes them in practice, but now he just has to carry it from practice to the game.”

Illinois without perimeter game, goes through ups and downs

With sophomore guard Jamar Smith, senior guard Rich McBride and junior forward Brian Randle, Illinois struggled to find its stroke from the perimeter early in the game, but found its stroke when it mattered most.

“We have to survive until Rich gets back because he gives us a little depth,” Weber said. “We’ll just see how things go with Brian, and with Jamar it’s going to be at least three or four weeks so we’re going to have to survive.”

The Illini started the game missing its first seven shots from three-point land, but finished the game 7-17 from beyond the arc.

It wasn’t until 3:19 remaining in the first half that Frazier knocked down the Illini’s first three-pointer of the game.

After Frazier’s three the Illini went on a hot streak from three point land, going 7-8 from beyond the arc to help them finish with a 46.7 percentage from downtown.

Even freshman forward Richard Semrau got in on the act for the Illini by making a three-pointer with only 18 seconds left in the game.

“It was a great game for our team to win with the adversity we had,” junior forward Shaun Pruitt said.

Quote of game:

“I did write, and I don’t know why, and I didn’t know how to spell it so I asked one of our managers how, but I wrote resiliency on the board,” Weber said referring to what he talked to the team about prior to the Illini’s 76-55 win over Jackson State.