Illini basketball’s big men suffer, can’t get off the ground

By Anthony Zilis

When the halftime buzzer sounded on Friday as the Illinois men’s basketball team faced Wisconsin, Illinois forward Mike Davis had just two rebounds opponent Marcus Landry grabbed six boards in the half, three of them offensive.

At the break, Illini head coach Bruce Weber was none too happy with his 6-foot-9 sophomore, who is fifth in the Big Ten in rebounding this season.

“We wait for games to get going a little bit and guys, after they get down, they exert themselves,” Weber said.

Davis turned it on in the second half, finishing with 11 rebounds for the night, but it was just too late for an Illini team who were down early and often.

“He’s got to do that all the time,” Weber said. “I told him he’s got to have seventeen or eighteen rebounds.”

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His fellow post players had similar luck as Mike Tisdale and Dominique Keller combined for a grand total of one rebound.

Neither were able to turn it on in the second half, as Tisdale continued his hot-and-cold season with just two points and five rebounds in 16 minutes.

“We’ve got to have Tisdale in the game, when he plays well, we usually win,” Weber said.

The Illini are just 2-4 in conference play when the 7-foot-1 center scores eight points or less.

Bohannon can’t jump

Wisconsin guard Jason Bohannon was just one three-pointer away from the Wisconsin record as he shot 6-for-7 from beyond the arc.

Maybe he should have stayed there.

When the Wisconsin guard stole an Illinois inbounds pass early in the second half, he decided to bypass an easy layup and go for a more attractive dunk, which clanked harmlessly off the back iron.

“I always tell him he can’t jump anyways I don’t know why he tried that,” teammate Marcus Landry said with a smile at the post-game press conference. “I guess he felt like he was flying high today so he went up and tried to dunk it.”

Illini motionless

After the Illini shot only 4-of-21 from three-point range, Demetri McCamey, who was 2-for 5, blamed the cold shooting on a stagnant offense.

“We didn’t have the movement in the offense like we should. You’re going to get beat if you play like that,” he said.

While the Illini try to find answers for their offense, the Badgers are patting themselves on the back for allowing their lowest point total since they held Northwestern to 45 on January 7.

“We were making them work for their shots,” Bohannon said. “A lot of the time Illinois had the ball we were playing 35 seconds of defense and they were coming down at the end of the clock trying to get a shot up.”