Basketball sends seniors off with win

By Jeff LaBelle


photo DI multimedia


Season ends with a win at home

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Brian Randle and Shaun Pruitt made only one field goal apiece in their last game at Assembly Hall in the Illini’s 67-58 win over Minnesota on Saturday afternoon. Chris Hicks, also in his last home game, drained a three pointer in the final seconds to end his home career in style.

“I had to hold back the tears,” Randle said. “I woke up (this morning), almost had a panic attack.”

The trio finished with a combined 14 points but got help from a pair of juniors.

The Illini were led in scoring by Trent Meacham (21 points) and Calvin Brock (17) in what was a close game all the way through.

After getting out to an early 11-3 lead, Illinois watched Minnesota score the next five points and stay within striking distance through the first half.

The Illini led by as many as 10 point in the second half following a three-pointer by Meacham four minutes in, but Minnesota fought back to within three with five minutes left and were only down by four in the final minute. But free throws by Demetri McCamey, Brock and Meacham sealed the win in the closing minutes.

The shot by Hicks in the final seconds, though, stood out to Pruitt as one of the highlights of his final game.

“That’s crazy,” Pruitt said. “I was joking around. That’s like the basketball gods. It’s like that was meant to be.

“I’m definitely happy for him,” he added. “He’s our energy guy, motivates us. He never gets the publicity. I’m happy he went out just like us.”