Tisdale posts career night in 89-50 rout of Chicago State



By Jeremy Werner

Mike Tisdale turned to his defender and stared him down after slamming home a thunderous dunk with 8:55 left in the first half. The display of machismo has been a rare occurrence for the 7-foot-1 center during a rollercoaster set of performances this season.

On Monday against Hawaii, Tisdale went scoreless in 10 minutes of action – his second scoreless performance in three games. On Wednesday, Tisdale notched a career-high 25 points, his fifth double-figure scoring night in seven games, to lead Illinois to a 89-50 victory against Chicago State.

Tisdale also hauled in a career-high 10 rebounds, good for the first double-double of his career.

“I just take it one game at a time to be honest with you,” Tisdale said. “Even if I didn’t score (against Hawaii), we got the win. It wasn’t my night … Tonight happened to be my night. The next night, it might be (Trent Meacham’s) or someone else’s.”

The Cougars closed the gap to 49-39 with 11:55 left in the game, but Illinois (9-1) responded by outscoring Chicago State 39-11 the rest of the way. Four Illini scored in double figures – Tisdale, Meacham (14), Mike Davis (11) and Demetri McCamey (10) – to help Illinois post its highest point total of the year.

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Davis grabbed 12 rebounds for his fourth double-double of the season. Illinois coach Bruce Weber said he was glad to see Davis focus on rebounding when his shot wasn’t falling.

“I think he kind of fell in love with his offensive prowess instead of the thing that makes him special and got people talking about him, and that’s his double-doubles,” Weber said.

“I put on the board tonight ‘Pride in Illinois.’ That’s important: accepting your role and the little things that make a difference. We have the chance to be pretty good. But it’s not going to happen if we think we’re going to be great individuals. We have to be a great team.”

The Illinois defense flustered Chicago State as the Cougars shot 31 percent from the field and committed 29 turnovers – the third Illini opponent to cough the ball up 22-plus times.

Senior guard Chester Frazier limited Chicago State’s David Holston, the nation’s No. 2-leading scorer heading into the game with 28.3 points per game, to 17 points on 6-of-19 shooting. Frazier also forced the Cougars’ 5-foot-8 guard into six turnovers.

“I really think the key to the game was just our defense, spearheaded by Chester, obviously,” Illinois coach Bruce Weber said. “That little fella, he’s good. We frustrated him. Chester frustrated him.”

Illinois will now have nine days off for final exams before hosting the University of Detroit at the Assembly Hall on Dec. 20. It will be the Illini’s last warm-up game before the Busch Braggin’ Rights game against Missouri in St. Louis. Weber said he will stress improvement over the break and cautioned against looking ahead to Missouri.

“I promise you they will just be looking forward to the next day of practice, or not looking forward to it,” Weber said. “We’re going to go hard … We have to focus on what’s at hand. Then when Detroit comes, and then Missouri, then we’ll focus on those.”