Thursday, November 18, 2010

No. 22 Texas Longhorns Upset No. 16 Illinois in OT

Posted by CoHoops DeAnte Mitchell
The No. 16 Illinois Fighting Illini (3-1) came into the game with a huge advantage of having depth over the No. 22 Texas Longhorns (3-0).

Texas also had the advantage in the frontcourt averaging almost 50 rebounds per game.

The game was better than advertised. The see-saw affair needed more than 40-minutes to decide which team would play the No. 4 Pittsburgh Panthers in the championship game.

 Two freshman, Jereme Richmond and Corey Joseph both nailed shots to tie things up before the buzzer.

In overtime, Texas came out the gates with an 8-0 run that virtually put the Longhorns in the driver seat.

Despite two big three-point field goals by Illinois Bill Cole that pulled the game within three, the Longhorns hit two free throws in the final minute to pull away in the final seconds 90-84.

Tristian Thompson led all scorers with 20 points, seven rebounds, five blocks, and four assist. Jordan Hamilton continues to lead to the Longhorns in scoring with 25-points, with seven rebounds and three steals.

Gary Johnson (16), and Corey Joseph (10) were the other Longhorns in double-figures on the night. Despite their blemish at the free-throw line, shot 25-44 from the line, the Longhorns made key turnovers on defense to help pull away from the Illini.

Illinois picked up their first loss on the season, and that could have been a result to frontier force Mike Tisdale fouling out only picking up seven points and rebounds apiece.

Richmond also picked up his fifth foul in overtime, and that didn't help the Illini out either. Not to mention, the Illinois shot a daunting 37 percent from the line.

However, what doesn't show up in the stat book is Dougus Balbay's defense on McCamey. Balbay on finished with five points, eight rebounds, and three assist, but his defense is what sent the Longhorns to the winners circle.

Balbay played tough defense on one of the top guards in the nation, and did not let him touch the ball in key situations.

This is one of the reason why Texas could overcome a 22 point, eight assist, five rebound and two steal performance by the talented guard McCamey.

The Illini did not get much of a lift from their bench in the second half, although two reserves were in double-figures on the night; both Richmond with 11, and Brandon Paul with 12.

D.J. Richardson also checked in with 15, but the defense of Texas was too tough to overcome in overtime for the Illini. Texas moves on to face No. 4 Pitt in the championship, while Illinois will play Maryland in a third place game.

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