Illini get much needed win today during in the first round of the Big Ten Tournament beating the Penn State Nittany Lions 66-60.
Senior Rich McBride was (1-9) from the field but recorded 10 assist.
Illinois won their 17 straight game at the United Center in Chicago.
Illinois launched 28 three-point field goals making just 10 of them, guard Chester Frazier was (5-9).
Post game statements:
Bruce Weber: We didn't have much emotion to start the game, the coaches told me in warm-ups, I don't know if it was the pressure of trying to get another victory, advancing, or maybe just the mental drain on the whole season. Once we got through that early stretch we played pretty good defense for quite awhile and we had that nice run to start the second half.
One of the most difficult things I've dealt with this season was not having enough guys to practice its tough to get better as individuals and it's tough to get better as a team. We kind of know our roles, we know who can score, who to get to ball to, and how to get them the ball.
This year we turned into the NCAA how many man days we missed for games and it was 50 something, Brian Randle has missed 50 or more practices himself that's 2/3 of the season. Chester has missed some games but he's also missed a lot of practice time. People want to know what's wrong with them but they have missed important practices.
We knew it would be a gut check game and they would make adjustments I talked all week as if it was Northwestern or Minnesota for the second time, I knew they wouldn't let us get it inside. They made us shoot from the perimeter, 28 threes is a bunch but we made some especially Chester.
Chester Frazier: We are just trying to get wins and any win looks good on a resume, were just trying to add more to it. Penn State shaded their zone more to Rich because Rich is an excellent shooter from deep, I'm not so good from deep, but I just made some shots today.
Brian Randle: It's been a grind this season, I mean every season is a grind we had guys in and out constantly I think more than anything it's been a test for us. In practice we go hard I mean we beat each other up but there are less guys because of injuries, there was a point and time during the season where we had to back off. Where we are now we feel we probably should have been there in December or early January so it has been interesting. We had a lot of guys step up for us such as Chester he's the heart of this team he sometimes puts himself in positions where he probably shouldn't be, he will fall down, get back up and scream like it doesn't hurt, he gives us some toughness. Like today as much as people try to knock him down he's going to get up and play each and every game that's what we look for him to do, he hit some big shots for us today and played well defensively
Warren Carter: We showed some poise and kept our composure today we jumped out on them in the middle of the second-half to get a run started. Regarding the NCAA Tournament we don't talk about it much, none of us are on the committee we just know we have to continue to get wins and a win on Sunday they will not have a choice but to put us in the tournament.