Upper classmen get it done on the road. Bottom line - it's a team game but when times get tough your senior leadership should come through. Senior Warren Carter led the way with 17 points and 11 rebounds on 7-12 shooting. Even though the numbers for Rich McBride weren't there, he was very instrumental with his aggressiveness and ball penetration to set up others.
According to Head Coach Bruce Weber, just to get a road win and keep the lead was a good sign for his troops. Next the Illini (14-6, 2-3) will play the Wisconsin Badgers in Champaign on Saturday for a 1:00 p.m. game that will be nationally televised on ESPN. When the Badgers come in they will be ranked 2nd in the country and very confident.
What the Illini need to help continue this mini-run will be the play of sophomore guard Jamar Smith. The Illini will need Smith's scoring and the energy he brings to the game. Last night against the Gophers Smith played just twelve minutes and was 0-2 from the field, with 0 rebounds and 0 assists. Starting the season we all knew that Smith was going to be a big factor in the success of this team. Once Smith can get that swagger back and that little jump to his game, Weber's crew may find that shooting the 3-ball can become contagious.