Davis struggles offensively, but helps on boards

Davis struggles offensively, but helps on boards

By Jeremy Werner

Mike Davis began the year with a bang, scoring 20-plus points in three of the season’s first seven games. But lately, the 6-foot-9 sophomore has lost a little sizzle on the offensive end, averaging just 6.0 points over his last six games. Davis scored six points on 2-of-7 shooting in Sunday’s 62-54 victory over Iowa.

“He’s just not getting shots right now,” Frazier said. “We got to find a way to get him some more shots and get his confidence going … Mike’s got to get back to running the floor, finding open spots and hitting his little turnaround jump shot.”

But Davis has been productive on the glass. He has been Illinois’ most consistent rebounder and hauled in a game-high 10 caroms against Iowa.

“Mike Davis, he missed a couple shots early,” Illinois head coach Bruce Weber said. “He kind of starts hanging his head. He’s still young. I said, ‘Mike, if you don’t make shots you can still help us.’ He can rebound the basketball. He gets 10, so that’s really a positive for us, a nice lift for us.”

Frazier close, but no cigar

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Chester Frazier has been criticized in the past for his shooting ability, or lack thereof. But the senior guard known most for his tenacity and defensive prowess has quietly shot a career-best 46.5 percent from the field, including 39 percent from behind the 3-point line which ranks second on the team behind senior Trent Meacham.

However, the highlight shot of Frazier’s season, which sent the Assembly Hall crowd into a frenzy, was void via instant replay.

After stealing an Iowa inbounds pass with one second remaining in the first half on Sunday, Frazier swished a challenging 3-point attempt that seemed to tie the game, 25-25.

But the referees overturned the play after replay showed the ball did not leave Frazier’s hand before time expired. The Illini went into the half down 25-22 but stormed back in the second half to win the game, 62-54.

“It was close,” Frazier said. “I really didn’t know. I was hoping it was good. It would have been a good momentum boost, but good thing we pulled out the win.”

Suits and sneakers

The Illinois and Iowa coaching staffs wore sneakers with their dress attire on Sunday as part of the nationwide “Suits & Sneakers” event to raise awareness for Coaches vs. Cancer.

Coaches vs. Cancer is a collaboration between the American Cancer Society and the National Association of Basketball Coaches that has raised nearly $45 million since 1993. Weber, who won the Coaches vs. Cancer Champion Award in 2007, has helped raise more than $400,000 for Coaches vs. Cancer in his six-year tenure at Illinois.

“The people here, our community, the University, our administration has really supported Coaches vs. Cancer and I can’t say enough about their support,” Weber said. “It’s important, and I appreciate everybody’s support not only here but around the nation.”

“His Airness” at the Hall

Michael Jordan was in attendance at the Assembly Hall on Sunday to see his son, sophomore Jeff Jordan, play against Iowa. It was the second time this season the Chicago Bulls great has visited the Assembly Hall. “His Airness” also attended the Illini’s Dec. 6 game against Georgia at the United Center in Chicago.

Illini stay in the polls

Despite a sizeable loss to Minnesota last week, the Illini (18-4, 6-3 Big Ten) remained in the national polls for the third straight week. Illinois is ranked in the Associated Press poll at No. 23, while the ESPN/USA Today Coaches poll ranks the Illini at No. 21. The Illini also rank No. 17 in the Collegiate Basketball News Ratings Percentage Index (RPI), a system used by the NCAA to supplement the selection and seeding for the NCAA Tournament.

Quick hits

Illinois has held opponents under 60 points in 15 games this season … Demetri McCamey had a game-high seven assists and no turnovers … Sunday marked the third sellout at Assembly Hall this season … Calvin Brock had eight points and eight rebounds in 18 minutes.