Demetri McCamey had 16 points and seven assists in the Illini win.
Oct. 30, 2009
CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - The Fighting Illini saw their first action against outside competition Friday night at Assembly Hall, routing Missouri Southern State, 95-67, in the first of two exhibition tune-ups before the regular season. Junior Demetri McCamey had 16 points to lead five Illini in double-figures and all four freshmen made significant contributions in the victory.
Illinois jumped out of the gates fast, as senior Dominique Keller scored the first six points of the game to help the hosts jump out to a 19-1 lead. Sloppy play, including a host of UI turnovers midway through the first half, helped the Lions close to within eight at one point, 32-24, at the four-minute mark, but Illinois finished the half on a 17-4 run to take a healthy 49-28 lead at the break.
McCamey led the way with 12 first-half points and the Illini held 24-13 rebounding edge, but also turned the ball over 15 times in the first 20 minutes.
The Orange and Blue took much better care of the ball in the second half, committing just four turnovers. For the game, the Illini shot 52.4 percent (33-of-63) from the field, 70.3 percent from the line (26-of-37), forced 24 MSSU turnovers and outrebounded the guests 47-35. The Illini held a dominating 46-22 edge in the paint and outscored the guests 33-14 off turnovers.
All four Illini freshmen saw plenty of action in their first exhibition. D.J. Richardson hit 5-of-8 from the field for 14 points and had three steals in 19 minutes, while Brandon Paul added 13 points, five rebounds and three assists in 17 minutes of play. Tyler Griffey (six points in 18 minutes) and Joseph Bertrand (six points in 19 minutes) also got loads of game-experience in front of the Assembly Hall crowd of over 14,000.
Other Illini scoring in double-figures were Keller, who finished with 12 points, and junior Mike Davis, who chipped in 10 points. Junior Mike Tisdale led the way on the boards with nine, while McCamey dished out a game-high seven assists to go with his 16 points. Skyler Bowlin led MSSU with 17 points.
The Fighting Illini have one more exhibition game next Sunday, Nov. 8, at 4 p.m. against Quincy University, before opening up the regular season on Friday, Nov. 13, when they host SIU-Edwardsville at 7 p.m. CT.