Illinois Downs Penn State; Eastern, SIUE Suffer Losses in Men's Basketball

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Published on February 22 2013 11:22 am
Last Updated on February 22 2013 1:42 pm
Written by Millie Lange

Men's Basketball

Illinois 64, Penn State 59

CHAMPAIGN, Ill. — D.J. Richardson scored 18 points as the Illinois Fighting Illini held on to defeat the Penn State Nittany Lions, 64-59 in a Big Ten Conference clash at Assembly Hall.

Also scoring in double figures for the Illini (20-8, 7-7 Big Ten) was Brandon Paul who delivered 16 points in the team's fifth consecutive win.

The Nittany Lions (8-18, 0-14) were paced by Jermaine Marshall who tallied a game-high 20 points, shooting 4-of-8 behind the 3-point line. Sasa Borovnjak tied a career high with 17 points, adding a team-best six rebounds, while D.J.  Newbill pitched in with 12 points and five assists, but he was also guilty of seven of the unit's 16 turnovers.

PSU opened the game on a 9-2 run, but from there the visitors were outscored 27-11 as Illinois established a 29-20 advantage at the break. The hosts held the edge despite shooting only 36.4 percent from the floor in the first half.

Following the break, PSU made good on 7-of-14 shots beyond the arc, compared to only 3-of-12 for the Illini, but at the same time the home team connected on 14-of-21 at the free-throw line in order to secure the win.

With the victory the Illini now have 20 wins for the 12th time in the last 14 seasons.
The Nittany Lions entered the night as one of only two programs at the Division I level that's still seeking their first conference victory of the season, the other being Grambling State which is 0-14 in the Southwestern Athletic Conference and is winless in 23 games overall in 2012-13 at the moment.

Penn State has now lost 18 consecutive conference games dating back to last season.

Belmont 80, Eastern Illinois University 49

CHARLESTON, Ill. – Eastern Illinois held Belmont’s two leading scorers to seven combined points but two other players had big nights as the Bruins picked up a road win over the Panthers on Wednesday night in Lantz Arena.  Belmont won 80-49.

Belmont improved to 21-6, 12-2 in the OVC.  EIU fell to 8-20, 5-10 in the OVC.  EIU plays at Northern Illinois on Saturday in the Ramada Worldwide Bracketbusters game.

EIU took the early lead on a free throw by Morris Woods and jumper by Malcolm Herron.  Belmont then took advantage of several EIU turnovers with Trevor Noack getting off to a hot start.  Noack made four early free throws and was 8-of-10 from the field to finish with 21 points.

The Panthers had 11 first half turnovers which the Bruins converted into 16 first half points as they led 42-20.  Belmont shot 60 percent from the field in the first half and 53 percent for the game.

Sherman Blanford scored 12 of his team high 14 points for EIU in the first half as EIU shot 42 percent in the first half, cooling off to 32 percent for the game.  Freshman Alex Austin reached double figures of the fifth straight game with 10 points.

J.J. Mann had the hot hand for Belmont from 3-point range making 3-of-6 to score 21 points.  Blake Jenkins had 13 to round out Belmont’s double figure scorers.  Ian Clark was held to six points making only 2-of-8 from 3-point range.  Clark entered the game second in the NCAA in 3-point shooting percentage.  Kerron Johnson had one point but passed out eight assists.

EIU finished with only four assists but did win the battle on the glass.  Herron pulled down a career high 10 rebounds.

Tennessee State 83, Southern Illinois University/Edwardsville 73

EDWARDSVILLE, Ill. – On Senior Night, it was a sophomore and a junior who paced the SIUE attack. Kris Davis and Tim Johnson combined to score 43 points, but it wasn't enough to overcome a hot shooting night from Tennessee State.

The Tigers downed the Cougars 83-73 in Ohio Valley Conference men's basketball at Vadalabene Center.

The Cougars suffered their second consecutive loss and fell to 9-15 overall and 5-9 in the OVC. Tennessee State improved to 16-11 overall and 10-4 in the OVC.

"I thought we battled for most of the game," SIUE Head Coach Lennox Forrester said. "We just didn't get enough stops."

The 83 scored by Tennessee State matches the most points allowed by the Cougars this season. Austin Peay scored 83 last Saturday, and No. 15 Missouri scored 83 in the season opener.

Davis tied his career high with 25 points. He went 10 of 16 from the floor, also tying his career high for field goals made.

"I thought he did a tremendous job as far as scoring, attacking, making the right reads, and getting the basketball to where it's supposed to go," Forrester said of Davis.

Johnson established a new career high with 18 points. He was 6 of 11 from the field, including 2 of 4 from three-point range. Johnson set his previous career-high with 17 points Saturday and has averaged 14.6 points a game over his last three games.

"(Johnson) is scoring in different ways. He's getting on the glass for offensive boards and scoring off the dribble," Forrester said. "He's knocking down some jump shots, and we do need that. And he's guarding one of the best perimeter players night in and night out."

Mark Yelovich, playing in his final home game in an SIUE uniform, scored 12 points and added five rebounds. Yelovich scored eight points in the second half.

"He's put a lot of mileage in, and he has helped our program become a better program," Forrester said of the senior.

Tennessee State shot a season-high 57.7 percent (30-52), including 66.7 percent (14-21) during the second half. The Tigers also turned in a season-best performance from long range. The Tigers cashed in on 10 of 15 (66.7 percent) three-point attempts for the game. The 10 three-pointers set a season-high for a Cougar opponent.

The first half saw the lead change five times and the scored tied 13 times. The Cougars led by as many as 13 when a pair of free throws from Johnson made it 39-32 with 3:56 to play before the break. Tennessee State drained four three-pointers (two by Jordan Cyphers and two by Patrick Miller) to close the half on a 12-2 run and lead 44-41.

SIUE never led in the second half but tied the score 51-51 on a Davis jumper with 15:15 left. Tennessee State built its lead to 11 three different times during the half. It was 66-56 Tigers with 9:38 to play when Johnson reeled off a 7-0 personal run to cut the advantage to three points (66-63) with 7:59 left.

"As a team I thought we played well for a while," Yelovich said. "They're a good team--one of the better teams in our conference."

The Tigers proceeded on a 10-2 run to make it 76-65 with 3:50 to play.

Kellen Thornton led four TSU players in double figures. Thornton scored 22 points and pulled down seven rebounds to tie with three other players for game-high honors. Cyphers and Robert Covington each scored 18 points. Miller turned in the double-double of 17 points and 11 assists for the Tigers.

Aside from Yelovich, Derian Shaffer, Reggie Reed, and Zeke Schneider also played their final home games for SIUE. Shaffer scored eight points and pulled in seven rebounds. Reed scored two points and added two assists.

SIUE finishes the regular season with three road games beginning with the Ramada Worldwide BracketBusters game Saturday. The Cougars will meet Central Arkansas in a 4:30 p.m. game in Conway, Ark.