Illini open preseason with win over Lewis

It was an exhibition game against a Division II opponent, but it turned in to a close contest at the Assembly Hall on Friday.

Lewis University led by 9 past the midway point of the first half before Illinois put the game away half way through the second, scoring 11 unanswered points to defeat the Flyers 75-65.

“Obviously, (it) was a little closer than you hope in an exhibition, but I think a great learning lesson.” Head coach Bruce Weber said. “It was good for us.”

Senior Mike Davis wasn’t surprised that the Flyers came to play.

“Lewis is a good team. They ran their stuff well. They knew us. They play that pack defense,” Davis said. “We didn’t do a good job screening. We just have to do better on offense, we just have to run our stuff better.”

Davis led the way for the Illini offense, tallying 15 points and grabbing seven boards. And senior point guard Demetri McCamey added 12.

Freshman Jereme Richmond got in on the scoring too, tallying 11 points on the night. But the guard-forward wasn’t satisfied with his performance.

“I didn’t expect to have the best game of my career the first game, but my teammates and my coaches helped me get through it,” Richmond said. “It’s just something I’ve got to get through as far as turnovers and different things like that.”

Weber opened the game with the same five who started most of last season in seniors Mike Tisdale, Mike Davis, Demetri McCamey and Bill Cole to go along with sophomore D.J. Richardson. But it didn’t take long for the substitutions to begin, and they continued throughout the game.

Everyone on the roster saw the court on the night, with everyone but walk-on freshman Kevin Berardini seeing significant minutes.

“If we’re going to really have the depth that everybody talks about, those guys are going to have to play and make some plays,” Weber said. “If you don’t put them in now, it’s going to be tough to put them in next week.”