Calvin Brock says Illini need to remain poised

By Lucas Deal

Calvin Brock is a sophomore swingman for the Illinois basketball team. Brock has appeared in all 23 games for the Illini this season and is averaging 6.1 points per game. The Daily Illini caught up with Brock after Illinois’ 64-47 loss at Purdue on Saturday and asked him what to expect out of the Illini as they reach the season’s home stretch. Here’s what he had to say:

Daily Illini: What caused the team to struggle so much against Purdue?

Calvin Brock: I’m not sure, but I don’t think it was mental. We got high for Indiana and Wisconsin and I think everybody was prepared, we just didn’t get it done.

DI: How does a lack of practice hurt this team?

CB: Even though we didn’t all have practice for the last couple of days it doesn’t mean we can’t bring energy and competitiveness to the game. Because for us, getting into the NCAA Tournament and (seeding) for the Big Ten Tournament is on the line.

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DI: What did coach say in the locker room after Saturday’s loss?

CB: He was saying that we let one slip away, but we still have eight more games to go so we still have to come with it and bring intensity for the rest of the season.

DI: Was there any talk of quit?

CB: No, he said he wasn’t giving up on us and everybody shouldn’t give up because a couple of people had their heads down. He was just motivating us to keep playing hard.

DI: Has anyone on the team given up?

CB: No, there hasn’t been anyone on our team that has even been close to giving up; we’re just a little down right now because of the loss. I think we’ll continue to compete and bring intensity for the rest of the season.

DI: Is it hard to keep intensity up when shots don’t fall?

CB: It’s hard, but you just have to play through it, keep your poise and hope that shots fall and go your way eventually.

DI: What does the team need to do for a chance at the NCAA Tournament?

CB: We have to keep our poise and make plays at the end of games. Against Wisconsin, we had good defense for a while but we have to trade baskets for baskets when we have a two, three, four-point lead. We can’t have minutes and lapses where they score and we can’t score and they get ahead. We can’t lose that way.

DI: How does the Purdue loss affect the team’s confidence?

CB: I think it made a drastic change. I mean, everybody knows we have to win the rest of our games to hopefully get into the NCAA Tournament. It made people get down a little, but I think everyone still knows what’s at stake down the line.

DI: What does the team have to do to beat Michigan State tonight?

CB: The first half against Michigan State, when we played at their school, we played hard and brought intensity and competed. In the second half, we really didn’t do the same thing. I think we have to play like we did in the first half the whole game.

DI: Will the recent shooting struggles of the team change your offense?

CB: We want to get it into the post, but we still have some good shooters and because shots aren’t falling now it means they should start falling later. Our coach always wants us to start inside and then kick outside so the outside guys are open, and I think once they make that first shot they should be fine.