WHAT IT MEANS: No. 16 Illinois defeated unranked Maryland in the consolation game of the Coaches vs. Cancer Classic at Madison Square Garden, 80-76. The Fighting Illini move to 4-1 on the year, and avoid going 0-2 on their trip to New York, which would have been very disappointing for a team expected to be near the top of the Big Ten this season. The young Terrapins dropped both games at MSG this week, but nevertheless must have gained a great deal of confidence after hanging with two top-25 teams in two days.
STAR POWER: Illinois star guard Demetri McCamey delivered again tonight, with 20 points (on 7-for-9 shooting) and seven assists. His numbers might have been even better, if he hadn't had to sit for 11 minutes in the first half with two fouls. McCamey is one of the best guards in the country. He'll be back on the MSG floor again, as a pro -- boy, could the Knicks use him.
LONG-RANGE DAMAGE: The Illini were on fire from 3-point range tonight, especially early, which played a major role in the victory. They made 10 of their first 16 3-point attempts, and shot 10-for-19 overall from downtown.
GIVE HIM THE DARN BALL! Maryland's top player, sophomore big man Jordan Williams, came in averaging 19.3 points and 12.3 rebounds per game. He did have a double-double tonight --15 points and 13 rebounds -- but he could have done so much more, he only got eight shots from the field! He was partly to blame -- he only played nine minutes in the first half because of two early fouls. But the blame also goes to his teammates (and coaches?), who didn't look to get him involved very often at all until late in the game. Williams needs to be a bigger part of the Terps' offense if they're going to win games.
WHAT'S NEXT: Illinois next plays Tuesday at home against Yale -- that might not be as easy as it looks, Yale beat Boston College at BC on Thursday. Maryland will host Delaware State on Tuesday.