Season in review: Top games, players

With the 2010-2011 college basketball season now complete, here’s a final look back.

Top 5 memorable games

1. UIC 57, Illinois 54: UIC shocked the country when it defeated No.14 Illinois before 13,117 fans, mostly Illini ones, on Dec. 17 at the United Center in Chicago. UIC only won two more games the rest of the year, but it made the Flames’ season. Illinois’ loss was the beginning of its struggles.

2. Illinois 73, UNLV 62: In their win over UNLV in the NCAA tournament on March 18, the Illini looked like the team everyone thought they would be this season. Illinois was unstoppable in the first half, went up 46-24 at halftime and never looked back. They lost in the following round to Kansas.

3. Ohio State 58, Northwestern 57: Despite playing without star John Shurna, Northwestern came within a basket of defeating the nation’s top-ranked team on Jan. 29 and winning the biggest game in the program’s history. Ohio State’s Jared Sullinger broke a 57-57 tie with one of two free throws, and Northwestern guard Drew Crawford’s buzzer-beating attempt was off the mark.

4. Northwestern 71, Illinois 70: Northwestern nearly surrendered a 12-point second-half lead to the Illini on Feb. 5 in Evanston. Illinois pulled within 68-67 with a 5-0 run by Illinois’ Demetri McCamey. Northwestern hit 3-of-4 free throws in the game’s final seconds to hold on for the win.

5. Butler 65, Loyola 63: Loyola has lost to Butler by a combined three points at home the past two years. Butler defeated the Ramblers by one point at the Gentile Center in the 2009-2010 season and squeaked by with a two-point win on Dec. 1. Loyola held Shelvin Mack to nine points in this season’s game, but Matt Howard and Zach Hahn combined for 30 points in the win.

Player of the year

Illinois senior guard Demetri McCamey: His numbers took a dip late in the season when he went through a rough patch, but he still was the reason Illinois reached the NCAA tournament and is the state’s best player. McCamey, who is expected to be drafted, averaged 14.6 points, 6.1 assists and 1.0 steals and shot a career-best 45 percent from 3-point range.

Coach of the year

Illinois’ Bruce Weber: Only three local coaches (Weber, Northwestern’s Bill Carmody, Loyola’s Jim Whitesell) had a winning record in the 2010-2011 season. All three teams underachieved this season, but Illinois and Weber still reached the NCAA tournament.

All-state first-team

  • McCamey, Illinois, Guard, Senior: See above.

  • Cleveland Melvin, DePaul, forward, freshman: Melvin was one of the most dominant players in the Big East this season and was named the conference’s Rookie of the Year. He averaged 17.4 points during conference play and averaged 14.3 points and 5.0 rebounds on the season.

  • John Shurna, Northwestern, forward, junior: Shurna was one of the hottest players in the country before injuring his ankle in late December. Despite the injury, Shurna still averaged 16.6 points, 4.9 rebounds, 2.6 assists, 1.1 steals and 1.0 blocks this season.

  • Xavier Silas, Northern Illinois, guard, senior: Silas was among the nation’s top scorers, averaging 22.3 points a game and with seven games of 30-plus points. He’s also a potential draft pick.

  • Michael Thompson, Northwestern, guard, senior: Thompson closed out his historic career at Northwestern with his strongest season, averaging 16.3 points, 2.2 rebounds, 4.3 assists and 1.4 steals.

    All-state second-team

  • Drew Crawford, Northwestern, G, So.: 12.1 points, 4.7 rebounds, 2.0 assists

  • Mike Davis, Illinois, F, Sr.: 12.5 points, 7.1 rebounds, 0.9 steals, 0.8 blocks

  • Robo Kreps, UIC, G, Sr.: 15.8 points, 4.2 rebounds, 2.9 assists, 1.4 steals

  • Mike Tisdale, Illinois, C, Sr.: 10.0 points, 6.5 points, 1.6 blocks

  • Andrew Warren, Bradley, G, Sr.: 18.8 points, 5.5 rebounds, 1.8 assists, 1.7 steals

    Honorable mention: Ben Averkamp, Loyola, F, So.: 12.0 rebounds, 5.3 rebounds, 1.5 assists, 1.6 blocks; Paul Carter, UIC, F, Sr.: 14.7 points, 8.0 rebounds, 1.9 assists; Cornelius Chatt, SIU-Edwardsville, G, Jr.: 12.1 points, 2.4 rebounds, 2.3 assists, 1.0 steals; Carlton Fay, Southern Illinois, F, Sr.: 12.7 points, 4.0 rebounds;

    Jeremy Granger, Eastern Illinois, G, Jr.: 14.5 points, 4.3 rebounds, 3.4 assists, 1.2 steals; Austin Hill, Illinois State, G, Sr.: 10.5 points, 2.5 rebounds, 1.8 assists; Matt Lander, Western Illinois, G, Sr.: 17.0 points, 2.3 rebounds, 2.7 assists; Geoff McCammon, Loyola, G, Sr.: 14.points, 3.0 rebounds, 1.0 assists; Carl Montgomery, Chicago State, F, Sr.: 17.1 points, 7.7 rebounds; Brandon Young, DePaul, G, Fr.: 12.6 points, 2.4 rebounds, 3.7 assists, 1.1 steals

    All-freshman team

  • JerShon Cobb, Northwestern, G: 7.4 points, 3.0 assists, 1.5 rebounds

  • Walt Lemon, Bradley, G: 6.4 points, 2.4 rebounds. 0.9 assists, 0.9 steals

  • Cleveland Melvin, DePaul, F: 14.3 points, 5.0 rebounds, 1.0 steals, 1.5 blocks

  • Jereme Richmond, Illinois, F: 7.6 points, 5.0 rebounds, 1.8 assists

  • Brandon Young, DePaul, G: 12.6 points, 2.4 rebounds, 3.7 assists, 1.1 steals