It was a tale of two halves Wednesday night as Illinois downed Michigan at Assembly Hall. The first half was an ugly battle in which Michigan ended up with a one point advantage. For the Illini, Demetri McCamey had 15 of his 17 points in the first half, while 7'1" center Mike Tisdale had six points. For Michigan in the first half, Manny Harris was held to five points while the rest of the team had 26, en route to a 31-30 lead.
The Wolverines had to feel that if Manny could step it up and reach his average of about 18 points per game, they would have a great chance to win. Well, Manny scored 15 second half points, but the rest of the team only had five.
Mike Tisdale meanwhile was beating Michigan in every way. With McCamey held to two second half points, the big guy was tipping misses, making buckets while being fouled, and even hit a three that erased all doubt late. Tisdale had 18 second half points to finish with 24 and give the Illini a 66-51 win.
The victory was a huge one for the Illini, who move to 3-1 in the conference and 15-2 overall. You have to win at home in the Big Ten to be successful and this was a must win early in the conference season.
Next, Illinois will try to steal a game on the road and make it sweeps week for the state of Michigan when they take on Michigan State in East Lansing on Saturday. If they can escape with a win, the Illini will have 16 W's with 13 games left, including at least one gimme at Indiana. Tournament hopes are high after the win last night, but fans will be thinking about securing a higher seed if the Spartans go down Saturday.