And they’re off! Conference play began last night, and we’ve already been treated to a close game and a Wisconsin blowout–two things we’ll probably see plenty of over the next two-and-a-half months. Let’s get to the details.
(FightingIllini.com) Sophomore Kersten Magrum scored 19 points and pulled down eight rebounds while junior Karisma Penn added 14 points and 12 rebounds to help lift Illinois to an 83-65 victory over Alabama A&M in the final non-conference game of the season. With the ninth-rated schedule in the nation, the Illini finish that part of the schedule at 6-7 while Alabama A&M falls to 5-5. BOX
Maybe you say it every year: This is the season that I’ll go to the Big Ten Men’s Basketball Tournament. Or maybe you go every year and you’re feeling lucky. Now’s the time to enter the Buffalo Wild Wings Trip To The Big Ten Tournament Sweepstakes for a chance to win a trip for two to the 2012 Big Ten tourney in Indianapolis. The prize package includes tickets to all of the tournament games, flights to Indianapolis, and hotel accommodations. Enter over on our BTN contest page.
(AP) Brandon Paul scored a breakaway dunk that put Illinois ahead in double overtime Tuesday night and Meyers Leonard hit the layup that sealed the 81-72 victory over Minnesota. Paul swiped the ball from Ralph Sampson III for the dunk that gave the Illini (12-2, 1-0 Big Ten) a three-point cushion at 73-70. Leonard’s layup with 1:11 left made it 78-72 and finished the Golden Gophers (12-2, 0-1). Paul finished with 21 points. Leonard had 20 and a game-high 11 rebounds for his third straight double-double. Read the full AP recap, see the box score and view our Big Ten scoreboard.
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Illinois sophomore Meyers Leonard has been turning heads all season long, but now that the Big Ten season underway, the rest of the Big Ten is about to see what this guy is all about. In Tuesday night’s Big Ten opener against Minnesota, the athletic 7-footer flashed his unusual skills on a highlight-reel alley-oop. Leonard set a pick, rolled to the hoop, and threw down a perfect pass from guard Brandon Paul with relative ease. Watch the play now.
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Prior to Tuesday night’s Big Ten opener at Assembly Hall, Illinois coach Bruce Weber allowed BTN cameras inside the Illini locker room for his pregame speech. The behind-the-scenes access resulted in some terrific footage. Watch Weber’s motivational words moments before Illinois took the court against Minnesota in the first Big Ten game of the season. As for the game, the Illini topped the Gophers in double overtime.