The Buckeye Watch - Illinois
By Tony Gerdeman
It's nice to have a team so talented that one guy in each
half can dominate to the point of causing double-figure leads. William
Buford did it in the first half to get things going, and David Lighty
did it in the second half when Illinois started to make things
This is with the Illini making threes like they were
Loyola-Marymount and the Buckeyes were the Wolverines. (Go ahead and
send your emails, I deserve it.)
But Ohio State always had more than the Illini in this game,
and it's seemingly been that way since Matt Sylvester's three-pointer
dropped in way back in 2005.
As is generally the case with a Bruce Weber team, as long as
you make them fight all game long, they'll eventually quit, and that's
what happened in both halves tonight.
Pacifists just don't like to fight, and the Illini are the hippies of the Big Ten.
6:54 Demetri McCamey isn't in the
starting lineup tonight. Bruce Weber apparently hasn't seen the
Wisconsin and Purdue games, and watched E'Twaun Moore and Jordan
Taylor erupt like a couple of feisty volcanoes.
7:00 Brent Musburger is in the house,
Pardners! I hope Coach Knight is with him. Nope, it's Dan Dakich.
A fine consolation prize.
7:01 Crandall Head is in the starting
lineup for the Illini. Also, 'Crandall Head' is a condition that was
often cited by doctors in the 1800s. Symptoms were back-talkery and rambunctiousness.
7:02 Bruce Weber wants to get a spark
from McCamey, per Jill Montgomery. If you want to get a spark from
McCamey, you're literally going to have to douse him with gasoline,
put a flint jacket on him, and then take a magnesium bat and
repeatedly hit him with it.
7:03 William Buford starts off by
hitting an 18-footer. Good news. The better news is that he doesn't
have two fouls yet.
7:05 Uh oh. Smooth jumper from Buford
with a hand in his face. This is not what the Illini wanted to see.
But then they probably shouldn't have come to Columbus if they didn't want to see Willy Bu draining jumpers in their face.
7:18 Mike Tisdale makes a three. He
looks so goofy when he shoots, like he's ducking under a doorway.
7:19 Tisdale hits a second three from
the baseline after a Buckeye was grabbed and held on a loose ball. Big Ten refs never call holding, even in basketball.
7:20 More for Buford. I think he has
eight of the Buckeyes' twelve points to this point. He's getting
anywhere on the floor he wants to go.
7:21 Aaron Craft just stole the ball
from David Lighty. If that's not stat-padding, I don't know what is.
7:22 Demetri McCamey makes his first
three-point attempt. Why are you surprised? The Illini are now 3-3
7:23 David Lighty is getting to the
basket, but he's not finishing well at all yet. At least he's
not charging like McCamey just did.
7:26 Brandon Paul hits a three around
a screen. Last year's Michigan football defense could defend the
screen better than this team does. Buckeyes lead it 17-16.
7:28 Buford nails a three coming
around a screen. Two can play this game apparently.
7:29 Aaron Craft just lost the ball,
regained it, then got pushed down. No foul. These refs probably
worked a game earlier today at a Pennsylvania YMCA.
7:30 The Illini are dropping in threes
like Larry Bird in warmups and they're still down 31-24. Once the shots stop
falling, this game could get ugly.
7:31 Tisdale with another three. All
of them open looks. You can call it tired defense if you want, but
lazy might be a better word.
7:32 Matt Sylvester is in the House.
The Illini killer. Is that racist?
7:34 McCamey hits a three and the
Illini are 8-9 from three. Now down by three. He wasn't exactly
open. If they shoot 89% from three tonight, this is going to be a
7:37 Beautiful drive and floater from
Lighty off the glass. The Buckeyes can get into the paint at will.
Ohio State up 37-30 with 3:30 to play.
7:40 Illinois crashes into more crowds
than Pamplonian bulls.
7:41 The Buckeyes run a perfect last
possession and end the half on a baseline three from Jon Diebler,
making it 47-32 Ohio State. No turnovers in the half for the Buckeyes.
7:42 Bruce Weber seems like he should
be selling riding mowers. I think he would be better at that than
coaching Big Ten basketball.
7:44 I guess it doesn't matter if you
shoot 8-9 from three-point range if you also turn it over nine times
and let your opponent shoot 57.1% from the field. Such is life for a
Bruce Weber coached team. He's like a good movie with a terrible
7:49 I love Demetri McCamey's “I
don't care” attitude. He always looks like he can't wait to get
back to the bus and get his headphones on.
7:54 This dude on the halftime show
just called the Schottenstein Center “The Little Horseshoe”.
Let's not do that again, friend-o.
7:59 Illinois playing some full-court
pressure. Aaron Craft will be coming into this game pretty soon if
they keep it up.
8:00 Ouch. Illinois begged David
Lighty to shoot a three. He didn't want to, then chose to...and
missed. The Buckeyes may not need his shooting tonight, but
they'll need it for March. Craft comes in.
8:02 Well, this is interesting.
Illinois opens with a 7-0 run without a single three-point bomb.
8:04 McCamey is manning up Buford and
Buford is forcing shots now. He just can't go an entire game without
forcing a few bad shots. Then again, he can also make them.
Still, he gets in negative zones that are unnecessary.
8:10 Illinois has closed the gap to
six points. I'm not sure the Buckeyes thought they'd have to work in
the second half.
8:11 Hey hey! David Lighty rattles in
a three-pointer. That's a huge basket for him, and then it leads to
an Aaron Craft steal and missed layup. He crashes to the floor. No
call. Craft gets up, runs down court and gets called for a foul of
his own. He was probably telling one of the refs “Call the foul!”,
and so they did.
8:12 David Lighty just made two free
throws. His slump is over! IT'S OVER!! Buckeyes lead it 54-43, and
then he steals it from Crandall Head and throws down a dunk while
getting fouled in the face. Blam!! He makes the free throw.
Buckeyes lead it 57-43 with 13:21 to play.
8:14 Offensive foul on Illinois. Here
comes the Weber Collapse, which is trademarked.
8:16 Another steal and layup by
Lighty! McCamey made an offering, and David accepted it. Buckeyes
on a 10-0 run. It all started with David Lighty's three-pointer.
8:17 Oh, it's on now! Lighty just hit
a baseline three. That's 13 straight for David Freaking Lighty!
8:18 Demetri McCamey nails a three to
cut the lead to nine points. I almost forgot they made every shot
they took from back there.
8:19 Deshaun Thomas, the other Illini
killer, just hit a three of his own. When he and Lighty are hitting
threes, you can't possibly lose.
8:20 Somehow David Lighty just missed
a three and Thomas grabbed the rebound and put it back up and in
while getting fouled. Great anticipation by Thomas on what was
pretty much unanticipatable. Who would ever expect a Lighty miss
right now? But Thomas did.
8:26 Jon Diebler goes to the basket
again and gets fouled. I love the way he's been driving to the
basket lately. It makes him so much more dangerous. Defenders can't
just come flying at him if he's going to run right by them.
8:27 Jereme Richmond dunks an Illinois
miss on the bounce. It was offensive goaltending, but don't expect
it to get called.
8:31 Two more for David Lighty on the
drive from the wing. Earlier in the game they were begging him to
shoot. Now they're begging him to stop. Buckeyes lead it 74-60.
8:33 Diebler runs around a screen
(which they should do more of) and drains a three. I love watching
him run free out past the three-point line. Like seeing a herd of
buffalo out in the wilds of Ohio running along 315. Nature at its
most natural. Such a beautiful thing.
8:35 Oh, David, don't hurt 'em! A
drive and spin, too quick for even the sneakers to squeak. Two more
for Lighty. Buckeyes by 15. He's got the eye of the tiger back.
I guarantee you that he would leave Apollo Creed in the dust if
they raced on the beach right now.
8:38 “HEEERE'S JARED!” Classic
Brent calling Aaron Craft's fabulous drive, draw and dish to Sullinger for the
8:42 Nice offensive rebound and
putback by Lenzelle Smith. Buckeyes cruising. This ball
game is over. Quickly. Buckeyes win it 89-70. They commit three turnovers, one in the last 18 minutes of the game. Gonna be tough to lose when
you're getting looks on every single possession, and making over half
of your shots to boot.
Illinois goes back home carrying a loss just like they knew they would.
The Buckeyes had to make a statement tonight, and they did just that.
They get a break this weekend against the Hoosiers, but the two games
following that one--at Penn State and Wisconsin at home--will be two
more opportunities to make further statements. If William Buford
and David Lighty are combining for a stellar 40 minutes like they did
tonight, then I would expect those future statements to be outstanding.
Until then, however, we'll have to deal with Tom Crean's emphatic
clapping and disappointed looks after Buckeye dunks. It's a nice
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