Illini Blitz Georgia Southern

It wasn't supposed to be this easy for Illinois with their three best players watch from the sidelines, but on Friday night, the Illini rolled over the Georgia Southern Eagles 85-50. Trent Meacham and Calvin Brock both scored career-highs for the Illini in Friday night's blow out victory.

After Georgia Southern's offensive performance in the first half against Duke in Cameron Indoor Stadium on Monday night in the second round of the CBE Classic, the Eagles looked like they could give the Illini some trouble on Friday night. The only trouble the Eagles gave the Illini was how Bruce Weber was going to clear the bench correctly on the evening. The Illini used seven quick points from Warren Carter in the first two minutes of the game to take a 9-0 lead, and they never looked back.

Georgia Southern tried all it could to slow down the Illini offense, including pressing them full court and switching into a zone on different possessions. No matter the defense the Eagles threw at the Illini, the Illini offense clicked and was able to score. The Illini offense was jump started by Warren Carter's quick seven points in the opening minutes of the game, but once he found himself on the bench in foul trouble, Trent Meacham picked up the slack for Illinois scoring a career high 19 points.

Like Meacham, Calvin Brock has been inserted into the Illinois starting lineup thanks to the injuries to Smith and Randle, and like Meacham he has played above what the fans and the coaches could have reasonably expected from him. For the second straight game as a starter, Calvin Brock scored in double figures and showed a calm patience on the court that was not seen in his time on the court last season.

  • The Illini defense has been stellar in the first three games of the season. No team has scored more than sixty points against the Illini, and the best that any one has shot from the floor against them this season was tonight's 18-for-52 effort from Georgia Southern. The work that Bruce Weber has put into the defensive side of the ball for this team early in practice is definitely paying off as the Illini are statistically (according to Ken Pomeroy before tonight) among the top five defenses in the country.
  • Both Trent Meacham and Calvin Brock are doing everything they can to earn more and more playing time once the rest of the Illinois roster returns from suspension and injuries. Meacham has shown through the first three games this season a knack to know where to put the ball for his teammates, and has been a great shooter. Brock has shown that he can play under control, and his jump shot has been going in, something he worked hard on all summer.
  • Chester Frazier is still getting acclimated to being the full time point guard for the Illini. After the first two games this year, Bruce Weber said that he needed to play more under control. Frazier did play more under control on Friday night, but he still needs to slow down on the court and let the game come to him more.
  • Raise your hand if you expected to ever see walk-on Chris Hicks in the game in the first half. OK, so no one did. Not only did he get in the game during the first half, but he played eight minutes on Friday night. Yes, this is how thin the Illini bench is right now.
  • It was good that the Illini didn't need Warren Carter on Friday night. He picked up three fouls in the first half, and found himself on the bench. He then picked up a quick fourth foul in the second half, and saw himself sitting next to Bruce Weber once again. Carter did manage to continue his offensive barrage on Friday night though, as he scored 12 points in his twelve minutes of action. At that pace, Carter would have scored 40 on Friday night, right?

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