Quantcast 2010 NIT Basketball Tournament: Illinois vs Kent State

Illinois Basketball 2010

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NIT Second Round Recap - Illinois vs Kent State

(1) Illinois 75, (4) Kent State 58

The McCamey and Tisdale pick-and-roll show will go on.

Point guard Demetri McCamey and seven-footer Mike Tisdale led the Illinois to a blowout victory over the Mid-American Conference regular-season champs in the second round of the NIT on Monday night in Champaign, Ill.

McCamey showed why he's considered a serious NBA point guard prospect,
racking up 10 assists to go with 15 points, most of which were scored at key moments. McCamey ignited the rally that put the game away when he scored five points in 17 seconds with a spectacular up-and-under layup, followed by an old-fashioned three-point play - a layup-and-free throw combo - after a steal. The five-point burst gave the Illini a 56-45 lead with 10:01 left.

Forward Mike Davis matched McCamey's double-double with 16 points and 16 rebounds.

Fighting Illini Apparel Illinois , playing in front of a lively home crowd, wore down the Golden Flashes with depth, height and generally superior athleticism. Tisdale and Davis took advantage of their size and played the game over the top of the Kent defense, combining for 23 second-half points.

The Golden Flashes’ best player, senior combo guard Chris Singletary, had a forgettable career finale.  He picked up his second foul early
in the game and spent a large portion of the first half on the bench.

Singletary was whistled for a technical foul for arguing a call with 5:04 to play, and then fouled out 16 seconds later when he threw an elbow at the offensive end.  It was essentially over for Kent State after that. The Golden Flashes got upset by giant-killing Ohio U. in the quarterfinals of the MAC Tournament. That loss was in many ways the result of a lack of composure under pressure. This game - as shown by Singletary's personal meltdown - witnessed a similar absence of serenity in meaningful moments.

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It will be a long offseason for the Ohio-based program. Kent State's regular season proved to be spectacular, but the postseason proved to be forgettable on a similarly grand scale.


Legendary UCLA coach John Wooden once said "things turn out best for people who make the best of the way things turn out." So far, so good for Bruce Weber's bunch; the one-time NCAA bubble team could now be considered the strong favorite to win the NIT hardware. The Illini advance to the quarterfinals Wednesday night in Champaign against the Dayton Flyers.


By James Lambert
BigTen-fans.com Guest Writer