Two overtimes not enough for Illini



By Jason Grodsky

Shaun Pruitt’s head hung lower than anybody’s at the Assembly Hall on Thursday night.

Illinois’ senior center had three opportunities from the free-throw line to give Illinois the lead in the final minutes of Illinois’ game against Indiana, but the ball couldn’t find the bottom of the net.

After missing the front end of a one-and-one from the line with four seconds left in regulation, the senior center was unable to convert two more from the line with two seconds left in overtime.

In a game that saw eight lead changes and nine ties, the No. 14-ranked Hoosiers were able to pull ahead for the final time in the second overtime, outscoring Illinois 14-10 in the final period to escape with an 83-79 victory.


photo DI multimedia



Two overtimes not enough for Illini

Click to view an audio slideshow about the game.

Hoosier’s freshman guard Eric Gordon proved why Illinois wanted the highly touted recruit so badly.

After a dismal first half, Gordon, the Big Ten’s leading scorer, scored 18 points following a one-point first half to help the Hoosiers (19-3, 8-1 Big Ten) overcome a 12-point second-half deficit to force the Illini (10-14, 2-9) into their third overtime game of the season.

Trailing 63-60, Gordon banked home a long three-point shot with 23.4 seconds left to send the game to overtime.

Even with all the attention focused on Gordon during the game, it was the Illini’s rookie guard that stole the show.

Freshman guard Demetri McCamey scored a game- and career-high 31 points to lead the Illini.

McCamey – who became Illinois’ premier recruit after Gordon backed out of his verbal commitment to Illinois – outplayed Gordon, hitting a career high seven three pointers.

McCamey provided nine points in the opening minutes of the second half to help Illinois open a 42-30 lead. But with senior forward Brian Randle fouled out, the Hoosiers made a valiant run to force overtime and squeak out with a victory.

The animosity between the Illini and Gordon started before tip off. During the announcement of the starting lineups, junior guard Chester Frazier shoved Gordon at center court, causing the freshman guard to stumble back with a smile.

Gordon – who was booed every time he touched the ball – shot just 3-for-13 from the field and turned the ball over seven times, but made 10-of-12 free throws. Three other Hoosier players scored in double figures, including forward D.J. White, who had 16 points and nine rebounds.

Both Pruitt and junior guard Calvin Brock finished in double figures as well, scoring 13 and 14 points, respectively.

Illinois has lost all three of its overtime games this season and has yet to beat a ranked team this year.