No. 14 Illinois bounces back with easy 85-43 victory
Posted: Thursday December 11, 2003 11:45PM; Updated: Friday December 12, 2003 1:08AM
CHAMPAIGN, Ill. (AP) -- Coming off a lackluster loss to Providence, No. 14 Illinois didn't need any extra motivation for Thursday night's game against Maryland-Eastern Shore.
The Hawks obliged anyway. Roger Powell scored 19 points and Illinois scored the first 16 points in an 85-43 victory that was fueled by a pregame session of trash talking on the court.
A couple of Hawks wandered into the Illini's stretching routine before tipoff, offering a prediction that the Eastern Shore guards would be responsible for a win.
Just over seven minutes into the game, Illinois led 16-0 and the Illini (4-2) were rolling.
"They did some antics before the game, and it wasn't very smart on their part," Illinois coach Bruce Weber said. "First of all, our guys were motivated after what happened the other night, and [Eastern Shore] added fuel to the fire. It was like throwing a stick of dynamite into a house going up in flames."
Luther Head had 16 points for Illinois, which rebounded from their 19-point loss against Providence on Tuesday. Illinois spurted away in the opening minutes, with James Augustine scoring six points in the 16-0 run. Illinois had four dunks while Eastern Shore missed its first 12 shots.
Jason McKinnon's short jumper at 12:53 gave the Hawks their first points -- on their 13th possession. Illinois pushed the lead to 27 on Dee Brown's layup with 1:55 left in the half. Powell scored 13 in the first half, which ended with Illinois in front 46-19.
The Illini shot about 59 percent, while Eastern Shore shot almost 23 percent in the half and had 17 turnovers.
"I really think (the trash talking) was a bad idea by our guys," Eastern Shore guard Tee Trotter said. "We basically gave them more fuel to put it on us like they did."
Illinois' lead grew as large as 45 points in the second half. Illinois guard Deron Williams left the game with 18:57 remaining after colliding with an Eastern Shore player near midcourt. Williams, holding his jaw, immediately left for the locker room and later received x-rays at a local hospital.
His status for Saturday's game against Memphis was undetermined.
After Williams got hurt, Weber also pulled Brown from the game. Brown had suffered a similar collision on a screen in the first half, saying he "couldn't see" during much of the remainder of the half. Weber said he wanted to prevent the potential for more injuries.
"We're hoping Deron just was hit in the face and has a bruise and maybe a black eye," Weber said. "He was totally conscious."
Illinois now has won 20 in a row at home.
"They were saying 'Y'all are going to give us this game,"' Brown said. "Not too many guys come to Champaign saying things like that."
Tee Trotter scored 12 points for Eastern Shore, playing its first game in 18 days. Jason McKinnon added nine points and 10 rebounds. The Hawks finished with 25 turnovers.
"You can't talk (Illinois) into being afraid," Eastern Shore coach Thomas Trotter said. "Most of these guys are top 100 players, so they think they're better than you, and you have to go out and prove (otherwise). We weren't tough enough to do it. You can talk, but you have to back it up."