Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Illini Hold off Norfolk State; Team That Upended Missouri in NCAA Tournament Cant Pull of Another Stunner

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Illini Hold off Norfolk State; Team That Upended Missouri in NCAA Tournament Cant Pull of Another Stunner

Article excerpt

CHAMPAIGN, Ill. In one breath, Anthony Evans claimed that he hasnt watched the game film that represents his greatest achievement in basketball.

In the next, he adjusted, saying he has replayed his March Madness miracle one time at home. But even that came with a disclaimer: I think. We may never know how many times Evans has slipped away to re-live his biggest moment.

But the Norfolk State coach is never too far removed from the stunning NCAA Tournament win over Mizzou that saw the 15th-seeded Spartans shock the No. 2 Tigers nine months ago.

The reminders are everywhere on the Norfolk, Va., campus in the form of mentions by students and the impact on the university, mainly an increase in enrollment.

From the notoriety we received to having the opportunity to go to the ESPYs, its been great for the program, the players and even the school as a whole, Evans said as his team awaited Tuesday nights meeting with No. 10 Illinois. It was a big win, a huge part of history and its done a lot for our program.

In search of another program-altering win this time on the road the Spartans refused to back down from the Illini in much the same way they hung with Mizzou that afternoon. This time, however, they fell 64-54.

The Illini built a 10-point lead early in the second half before the Spartans clawed to within one possession in the closing minutes. But the relatively inexperienced team lacked go-to players that were present last season.

Thus, Illinois improved to 11-0 for the first time since 2005- 06. The Illini have only a home game against unbeaten Eastern Kentucky (9-0) before facing Mizzou in the Braggin Rights game Dec. 22 at Scottrade Center.

We feel fortunate to have won the game, Illinois coach John Groce said. I didnt feel we played particularly well, but we did enough to win. I didnt think over the course of 40 minutes our energy level and focus were where theyve been.

Norfolk State dropped to 6-6. But its not much different than last year, when the Spartans stood at 7-5 last season before finishing 26-10.

The Spartans have undergone significant personnel changes, losing four starters who combined for 66 points in the 86-84 win in Omaha. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.