Illinois pitched a perfect game at hapless Northwestern Thursday. The Illini set a school record, hitting 70.5% from the field.
They held hobbled John Shurna to single digits for the first time all season. Kevin and Canada played. Joe Bertrand and Crandall Head eclipsed the minute mark. Demetri McCamey got to spend twelve entire minutes spectating.
The best part about the blowout was its dynamism. It wasn’t mere marksmanship. The Illini attacked the basket. They didn’t pass around the arc, but drove and kicked ― including two unusual dump-up passes (captured below by Mysterious McDade’s Magik Pikchoor Box).
They played hi-lo. Mike Tisdale made another hard drive to the rim. Mike Davis made four consecutive free throws.
It all worked. Inside and out, the offense ticked like orange clockwork.
I usually sit next to Jack Lyman from Scout. Jack is a mystic, which is useful. I like to know what’s coming in advance, so I can watch for it.
When freshmen Meyers Leonard and Jereme Richmond checked in at the first media timeout, Jack mused, “I wonder how long it will take Northwestern to run a backdoor past the young guys.”
Before I could finish saying, “Well, the shot clock is 35 seconds long,” Shurna threaded the needle to Alex Marcotullio. That was Northwestern’s offensive highlight.
On defense, the ‘Cats managed two showreels. Shurna had a great block/steal that picked DJ Richardson midair. Michael “Juice” Thompson picked Demetri McCamey on a dribble-drive.
And that was it. The rest was crap.
Juice addressed the crap afterward. He says the team plans to flush it, and forget about it.
I think he’s a little to grim, frankly. Illinois cannot be beaten when it shoots 70%. It doesn’t matter what you do on defense.
On the flip side, Illinois cannot win when it shoots 34%. And that’s what Northwestern did.
The shot chart says it all:
And now to the truly pressing question: What were they wearing?
Style icon Lynda Paul radiated a golden paisley. The Chester Frazier Fashion Show rocked the paisley, too ― but distinctly orange.
After the game, Mike Davis got all gussied up for a Mudhoney/Tad revival tribute … at least I think that’s what it was.
The Davis family finally gets to leave town. We’ll see most of them again soon. But Princess Maleana resumes classes at the University of Miami (journalism) on the 18th.