CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - David Reisner said he had a dream Friday night that he would attempt four field goals against Penn State, but not even in his wildest dreams could he have imagined a moment like this - kicking the game-winning field goal with :08 left to lift Illinois to a 16-14 victory over the Nittany Lions. "I went out there," Reisner said. "Coach Cubit lightened the mood up a little bit. He was making some jokes, and I felt calm. Calmer than I have ever been on a field goal. It was nice that everybody believed in me, and I ended up making the kick."
CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - If there's one thing this Illinois team is proving three games into the season - they can score. Light year's better than last year, and lights out from downtown. Illinois raced past Austin Peay 107-66 behind a balanced scoring effort that saw Illinois surpass 100 points for the second consecutive game. It's first time since 1993 than an Illinois team has accomplished that feat. The Illini are averaging more than 100 points per game this season. "I think the things that stand out the most to me was our unselfishness," said head coach John Groce. "I think sometimes we even passed up some shots to go from a good to great shot. We were very, very unselfish."
CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - Freshman Chatrice White scored 13 points and pulled down 15 rebounds to help lead Illinois to a 60-58 win over Memphis. Sophomore Jacqui Grant scored 14 points for Illinois (3-0).
CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - Illinois will try to improve to 3-0 when Austin Peay visits State Farm Center Friday night. The Illini are coming off one of the most lopsided wins in school history, a 114-56 victory over Coppin State. The players say they have already put that performance behind them, and they'll be ready for a new challenge Friday. "We still have a lot to improve on, which could make us better for the future," said sophomore Malcolm Hill. "That's just one game. We're worried about games in the future coming in February and March because we know that every game counts to get into the NCAA Tournament." Illinois and Austin Peay tip off Friday at 7:00 pm. You can see it on ESPN 3.
CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - When Reilly O'Toole is honored before his final game at Memorial Stadium Saturday, it will be bittersweet. "It hasn't hit me," O'Toole said. "I'm sure it will in the next couple of days. Just leaving these guys and all the memories we've made and the good times we've had, it will be emotional for sure."
Madison, Wis. (UI Release) - No. 10 Illinois headed to Madison on Wednesday with a shot to knock off the first-place Badgers, ranked No. 2 in the nation, but came up just short, 3-1. After Wisconsin ran away with the first set, 25-13, Illinois claimed the second, 26-24, to even the match at one. The Illini watched an eight-point lead slip away late in the third set to surrender the frame, 27-25, then stormed back on Wisconsin after trailing by as much as seven in the fourth, but could not quite send the match to five, dropping the fourth set, 28-26, and falling 3-1 on the night. The win allows Wisconsin to maintain its hold on first place in the Big Ten at 25-2 (16-1 Big Ten), while Illinois drops to 21-7 (13-4 Big Ten).
CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - All-American freshman Chatrice White scored a game-high 23 points, while also pulling down eight rebounds to lead Illinois to a 66-48 win over Robert Morris Tuesday night at State Farm Center. White, a McDonald's All-American, is now averaging 19 points per game through her first two career games. Ball State transfer Brittany Carter scored 11 points, and freshman Brooke Kissinger added ten. Illinois (2-0) forced 27 turnovers leading to 31 points off turnovers. Illinois is back in action Thursday night at home against Memphis.
CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - Malcolm Hill played his best game as an Illini Sunday against Coppin State, and the sophomore credits a new attitude for his improvement. Hill put up career highs in points and rebounds Sunday. He was 6-for-9 from the field for 13 points and was one rebound short of his first career double-double. "I really just focused on playing hard on the defensive end and getting of rebounds," Hill said after Sunday's win. "The coaching staff was telling me, 'The offense will come. Just worry about playing hard and doing all the little things.' That's what I focused on."
CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - One of the big questions heading into this season for John Groce was how his team would handle the loss of Tracy Abrams. If Sunday's win over Coppin State is any indication, they'll be just fine. It is a small sample size against a below-average team, but senior Ahmad Starks and sophomore Jaylon Tate combined for 12 assists and just one turnover in a 114-56 win over the Eagles. Groce likes those numbers from the point guard position, and he says that was a big game for them to build from. "Tate and Starks have a gift to push it, so we're trying to play to our strengths," Groce said after Sunday's win. "I thought Tate was exceptional pushing the ball. Obviously the two point guards were 12-to-1 assist-to-turnover. I thought Tate had a good defensive game as well, maybe one of his better ones, so I thought he did some really good things and certainly helped our team at both ends of the floor."
CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - Tim Beckman and company are still searching for answers on the defensive side of the ball after Saturday's 30-14 loss to Iowa. So far this season Illinois has given up more points than any other Big Ten team. Eight of their ten opponents have scored at least 30 points against the Illinois defense, and Beckman says it just comes down to making plays when they've got the chance. "It's just getting beat," Beckman said of the reason for their struggles. "We were there for all those passes. You gotta make a play. If you watch that film, we're there. We've gotta create more pressure on the quarterback. We ask a lot of our [defensive backs]."
Pressure continues to mount on Tim Beckman in his third season in Champaign. The Illini are 4-6 (1-5) this year with two regular season games left. Beckman talked about the pressure at his news conference Monday.
illiniboard.com's Robert Rosenthal gives his take on Illini football after losing to Iowa.
Illinois basketball defeated Coppin State 114-56 Sunday at State Farm Center. It was the most points in a game and largest margin of victory for the Illini since 1993 when Illinois beat Chicago State 121-52. Ten Illini players scored and six were in double figures. Leron Black and Ahmad Starks each had a team high 18 points.
Illini tennis seniors Tim Kopinski and Ross Guignon won the doubles portion of the JSM Challenger Saturday 7-6, 6-2. The duo finished second last weekend at National Indoors.
Illinois football lost to Iowa 30-14 Saturday. The Hawkeyes outgained the Illini 587-235 in total yards. Illinois drops to 4-6 (1-5) with two games left (vs Penn State, at Northwestern) this season.
CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - Illinois trailed early in the second half, but rallied down the stretch to hold off Georgia Southern 80-71 in the season opener Friday night. Champaign-native Rayvonte Rice led the way with a game-high 24 points. He was 8-12 from the field and 3-4 from 3-PT range. Aaron Cosby (16 pts), Malcolm Hill (11 pts) and Ahmad Starks (10 pts) all chipped double figures.
CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - Recruiting is an inexact science. Some players work out; some don't. But that doesn't lessen the effort coaches like former Illinois assistant Jay Price put in to land the top recruits. "It's a grind," said Price. "It's a mental, mental grind. It's difficult. It keeps you up."
CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - John Groce dominated the headlines in the offseason as he chased down some of the country's biggest recruits. It's a non-stop job trying to bring some of the top talent to Champaign. Groce signed one of the top recruiting classes in the Big Ten, but it has been some of his high-profile misses that have garnered the most publicity. There's one person in Champaign who knows better than most what it feels like to get so close, only to miss out on those five-star recruits. "It's awful. It's not fun," said former Illinois assistant Jay Price, who now coaches girls basketball at St. Thomas More.
CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - The Illinois women's basketball team survived a season-opening scare, but they held on to beat IPFW 70-63. Freshman All-American Chatrice White led the way with 15 points and 10 rebounds. Fellow freshman Amarah Coleman and Ivory Crawford scored a team-high 18 points apiece.
CHAMPAIGN -- An elementary school had special visitors Friday.
CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - If you think Tracy Abrams won't have much of an impact on this year's Illini team because of his torn ACL, his teammates and coaches are making sure that's not the case. Abrams was voted one of three team captains, even though he won't play a minute this season. Nnanna Egwu and Ahmad are the other two captains. Even though he won't play, Abrams will travel with the team to every game, and he'll be like an extra coach on the bench. "Most importantly it's about respect," Abrams said. "Just continue to show those guys respect whether I'm playing or not. I'm just glad they even picked me to be their captain this year. Obviously I'm not playing, but I'm still here, and it's just good because you know those guys got hope in me."
CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - John Groce said Thursday he would put this year's recruiting class up against any in the country. The four-man class is widely regarded as the No. 2 class in the Big Ten and a Top 15 group nationally. Groce said La Lumiere's Jalen Coleman-Lands and Plainfield East's Aaron Jordan are two of the best shooters in the country. He likes the versatility of Simeon's D.J. Williams, who can play anywhere on the court; and he is especially proud to bring Darius Paul back. Paul will rejoin the team after one year at junior college. "He and I have talked about him becoming one of the greatest success stories of my career as a coach," Groce said of Paul. "Sometimes you gotta try to make lemonade out of lemons. At this juncture he has certainly done that."
Aaron Bennett, Matt Wettersten and Bret Beherns preview this year's Illinois basketball team.
CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - There was no drama and no surprises Wednesday as John Groce signed one of the top recruiting classes in the Big Ten. It was also ranked among the Top 15 in the country. Indiana's Jalen Coleman-Lands is a Top 40 recruit nationally. Simeon's D.J. Williams and Plainfield East's Aaron Jordan signed as well. And Darius Paul is coming back to Illinois after one season at junior college.
CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - Senior Liz McMahon led Illinois with a team-high 15 kills as Kevin Hambly's squad held off No. 17 Ohio State Illinois 25-17, 16-25, 25-20, 22-25, 15-12. Illinois, ranked No. 12 nationally, improves to 20-6 overall (12-3 Big Ten).
PORT ARTHUR, Tex. - When John Groce signs his 2015 recruiting class tomorrow, there will be at least one familiar face on it. Darius Paul plans to sign with Illinois - again - after spending a year at Lamar State-Port Arthur, a junior college in Texas. Paul was on Illinois' roster last year, but he sat out due to NCAA transfer rules after he left Western Michigan. In May, though, Paul was suspended for this season after being arrested for underage drinking and resisting police. Instead of sitting out again, Paul transferred to junior college, where he could be recruited by any Division I program. He said all along he hoped to return to Illinois - and according to a press released from Paul's junior college - he will officially sign with Illinois Wednesday. Paul is one of four players expected to sign with Illinois Wednesday, along with Aaron Jordan, D.J. Williams, and Jalen Coleman-Lands.
Illinois quarterback Wes Lunt will start for the Illini Saturday against Iowa. He has been out since breaking his leg during the Purdue game on October 4.
Fighting Illini men's tennis seniors Tim Kopinski and Ross Guignon fell short of claiming their first national title Sunday afternoon after a 6-3, 7-5 loss to No. 19  Hanfmann/Quiroz at the Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in Flushing, New York.
CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - Friday night's exhibition game for Illinois became a coming out party for Leron Black. The freshman from Memphis, Tenn. wowed the Illini crowd with 15 points and eight rebounds in a 91-62 exhibition win over Quincy. Sophomore Malcolm Hill scored a game-high 20 points, and Nnanna Egwu did the dirty work pulling down 13 rebounds and blocking five shots. Illinois now has a week off before their season opener next Friday against Georgia Southern.
CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - The Illinois basketball team will take the court for the first time Friday night when they host Quincy for their one-and-only exhibition game of the year. The orange and blue practiced at State Farm Center Thursday - just their second practice on that court. They scrimmaged against Dayton over the weekend in Indianapolis, but Friday's game will feel a little more like the real thing. "We're looking forward to the opportunity to get back out here tomorrow, and to play in here," said head coach John Groce. "I tell them all the time it's a privilege to be able to walk on to this court and play in this building. I think there's a little bit of excitement certainly with our guys both yesterday and today because of that."
CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - The Illinois women play their exhibition opener Saturday at home against Millikin. The Illini are ready to put last year's nine-win season behind them. They return 11 players, including three of their top four scorers from a year ago. "We see what they're doing, we see the amount of scoring we're getting inside, the way we're shooting the ball and that gives us a lot of confidence and an excitement for the new year," said head coach Matt Bollant. "I know they're tired of playing against each other and ready to play someone else."
CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - Wes Lunt could be back on the field for Illinois as soon as next Saturday when they host Iowa, but one of his key protectors on the offensive line won't be there. Starting offensive lineman Ted Karras will miss the rest of the season after tearing both his ACL and MCL in last week's loss at Ohio State. Karras was on crutches at the end of Saturday's game in Columbus, and head coach Tim Beckman confirmed the season-ending injury after practice Wednesday. Karras has started all but two games in his three years at Illinois.
Ohio State beat Illinois 55-14 Saturday night. The Illini fall to 4-5 (1-4) and have an open week up next. WCIA 3's Aaron Bennett has more from Columbus,. Ohio.
SPRINGFIELD, Ill. - The University of Illinois has picked a location for the five men's basketball games next season that cannot be played at State Farm Center because of construction. Illinois announced Thursday they will play those games at the Prairie Capital Convention Center in Springfield. "We wanted to find a venue that made us feel at home, that was really welcoming, that we knew that we'd have a crowd that would be excited to have our games here," said Illinois executive senior associate athletic director Jason Lener. "The staff here, the venue, the community have had their arms open and welcoming to us, so we're real excited to come here."
CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - Illinois students got a chance to try and beat Illini basketball coach John Groce at his own game Wednesday morning. Groce was on the quad playing pop-a-shot to help the university promote its social media outlets. The school is trying to reach more students through twitter. So what better way than to have one of the most recognizable and popular faces on campus challenge students to a game of basketball between classes.
CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - Reilly O'Toole will get his third straight start at quarterback when the Illini visit Ohio State this weekend. The senior earned another start by leading Illinois to its first Big Ten home win in more than three years Saturday against Minnesota. "I thought we played really hard, came ready to go," O'Toole said. "We got off to a quick start, but really again we gotta be more consistent, put all four quarters together."
Illinois quarterback Wes Lunt should be back on the field soon. "We feel there's a great possibility for him to be back after the open week," said Illinois Head Coach Tim Beckman. Illinois plays Iowa after the open week on November 15. Lunt broke his leg in the game against Purdue and was expected to be sidelined 4-6 weeks.
Bret Beherns and Robert Rosenthal talk about the latest Illini football win.
Highlights from the Illini basketball scrimmage.
Illinois used a scoop and score from V'Angelo Bentley late in the fourth quarter and a strong defensive effort to upset Minnesota 28-24 Saturday afternoon on Homecoming at Memorial Stadium.
CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - We are learning new details about Champaign-Urbana's bid to bring the state basketball tournament back to State Farm Center. C-U tourism officials and the University of Illinois are partnering together to try to bring only the boys state tournament to town. There are no plans to bid on the girls tournament, according to Visit Champaign County CEO Jayne DeLuce.
CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - Tim Beckman said this week you will see both quarterbacks, Reilly O'Toole and Aaron Bailey, in the game this Saturday against Minnesota. It has been an up-and-down season for O'Toole, who has completed 55 percent of his passes and thrown more interceptions than touchdowns. He wants to play, but he says he is prepared to share the snaps if that helps the team win.
CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - Friends and family got together in Champaign Wednesday to remember Wayne McClain. The Central High School basketball coach, and former Illinois assistant, was laid to rest Wednesday after he lost his battle with lung cancer and pneumonia last week. Thousands came to celebrate McClain's life at the Fluid Event Center in Champaign. They remembered the four state titles McClain helped Peoria Manual win in the mid-1990s, but his contributions to Illini basketball came to the forefront. Dozens of former Illinois players and coaches were there, including Bruce Weber, Bill Self, Deron Williams, Jerrance Howard, Marcus Griffin and others.
LANCASTER, Tex. - Illinois basketball fans were on edge Tuesday as five-star power forward Elijah Thomas made his college decision. The talented big man from Dallas, Tex. had a group of finalists that included Illinois, but Thomas instead announced Tuesday afternoon he is headed to Texas A&M. Thomas picked the Aggies over Illinois, Oklahoma State, SMU and LSU. He made the announcement at a press conference at his high school in Lancaster, Tex. Thomas took his official visit to Illinois last month alongside Illini-commit Jalen Coleman-Lands. Thomas is ranked among the Top 30 players in the country, but he becomes the latest recruit to turn down Illinois in the final days of his recruitment.
The Illinois football team will wear special uniforms for homecoming. They honor Red Grange, the greatest football player in Illinois history.
Bonus interviews with Tim Beckman and Bill Cubit talking about how the Illini plan to use both Aaron bailey and Reilly O'Toole against Minnesota.
WCIA 3's Matt Wettersten talks with former Centennial Chargers Michael Finke and Rayvonte Rice.
Former NBA coach and current ESPN analyst Jeff Van Gundy had high praise for Illini basketball coach John Groce.
CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - Sergio McClain always knew his dad was one-of-a-kind. "I've never met anybody like that that has taken life by the horns and yanked them off," he said. Wayne McClain was a fighter to the very end, and he waited until his final days to tell his family he had been battling lung cancer. His son Sergio found out when he overheard the doctors tell his dad that the cancer was terminal, and he was running out of time.
CHICAGO, Ill. - The Illinois basketball team received four votes in the USA Today Coaches Poll released Thursday. The Big Ten is projected to be one of the nation's toughest conferences once again this season. At the league's media day in Chicago Thursday, Wisconsin was tabbed as the unanimous favorite. WCIA 3's Bret Beherns was there and has more on the Illini.