Pete DiPrimio, sports columnist and college beat writer for The News-Sentinel of Fort Wayne, Ind., takes his best shots on the world of Hoosier basketball.

Saturday, February 10

Indiana Rallies Past Illinois

Defense is a wonderful thing and if you don’t believe it, you should have seen what Indiana did to Illinois in the final 3 ½ minutes of today’s nail biter.

The Illini were lucky to get off a shot in that stretch, during which IU closed with a 7-0 run for a 65-61 victory.

Just when it looked like Illinois was poised for a dramatic victory, the Hoosiers ratcheted up the heat. Besides the tough-as-you-don’t-want-to-face defense, they got a couple of big D.J White free throws, a huge driving shot from Armon Bassett and more free throws from A.J. Ratliff and Earl Calloway.

This culminated an intense atmosphere in which Illini coach Bruce Weber faced constant student section verbal assault. Whether it was chants of “Eric Gordon!” or “Shut Up Weber!”, the crowd added the kind of home court advantage you need to win such a thriller.

And when that wasn’t enough, there was IU coach Kelvin Sampson urging his team on with a fist shake and “Let’s Go!” exhortations.

So Indiana heads into Wednesday’s showdown at Purdue with a 17-6 record, 7-3 in the Big Ten. Illinois is 18-9 and 6-6.


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