Tuesday, January 17, 2006
Is there such a thing as a good loss in conference play? I submit to you that the answer is yes as exemplified by the FIGHTING ILLINI against a very strong Indiana squad in Bloomington tonight. Sure, it was a road loss in the BIG-10. No big surprise there. We were the higher seed (#5) versus the #11 Hoosiers. But when it comes to conference play in the BIG 10 it's all about protecting the home court. This game meant more to Indiana tonight than it did to us. They had to win. We tried to win. There lies the big difference.
I liked the fight and never - give - up attitude in my team tonight. Down 55-40 with 8 minutes to go we actually had a chance to tie or win late in the game. You've heard me say this before, but this was a game we could have won. At one point we were up 13-3. Ouch! But give credit to the Hoosiers who rallied on their home floor tonight and defended their house. Killingsworth and Wilmont are good players.
But, this was a good loss for us. We grew up as a team in this game with both Randle and Pruitt going for seasons highs at 15 and 17 points, respectively. Wow! And on the road in the BIG-10....Wow Wow!. If those two guys continue to advance their games throughout the year we will be a very tough out come March, for anybody. This was a game of runs (13-3, 11-25, 14-1) to name a few.
Dee and James didn't have great games - both struggled with fouls most of the way. Again, it was really good to see someone else step-up and provide much needed scoring, especially in the half-court game where we have been struggling of late in conference play. Brown finished with 6 points. Augustine had ~ 11. Going 8 for 16 at the line could very well have been the difference. You need to make the foul shots, especially on the road if you hope to win.
No, this wasn't an upset. Although, this would have been a HUGE road win in the mightly BIG-10. We travel to Evanston on Saturday to take on the CATS before returning home for games against Minnesota and Purdue. We should rack up 3 more wins over the next week or so before going to Madison to take on those nasty Badgers. It's not easy to win there, or in Columbus, East Lansing, Bloomington, or in Iowa City.
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