CHAMPAIGN, Ill. (AP)—Indiana coach Mike Davis is ready to put last week behind him.
The Hoosiers, playing for the first time since Davis announced he will step down at the end of the season, shot just 36 percent from the field en route to their fifth straight loss, 70-58 to No. 14 Illinois on Sunday
“With all the things that have gone on, I thought today was pretty good,” Davis said. “I thought we took a step in the right direction because I saw some guys fighting harder than what they normally fight and I saw some guys miss some shots they normally make.
“We’ve just got to make shots. We’ve got to take advantage of our opportunities.”
James Augustine scored 18 points and grabbed 10 rebounds to lead Illinois (22-4, 8-4 Big Ten), which jumped out to a 27-10 lead and didn’t let the Hoosiers get within double figures again. While Illinois made 9-of-16 shots, the Hoosiers were 2-for-11 and committed six turnovers during the run.
“We missed some wide open shots,” Davis said. “They made theirs, we missed ours.”
Augustine scored 11 points but had only three rebounds in Illinois’ 62-60 loss to the Hoosiers on Jan. 17. In the rematch, he was 7-for-11 from the field and 4-for-4 from the free-throw line, and had four dunks on his way to his ninth double-double of the season.
“I wanted to come out with energy,” he said. “Everybody made good passes to me, got me open, screened well. I just had to make layups.”
Illinois coach Bruce Weber said he knew the Illini would have to jump out to a quick lead to take away any motivational edge the Hoosiers might have had after Davis’ announcement on Thursday.
After four early lead changes, the Illini put together a 22-4 run to turn a 6-5 deficit into the 27-10 lead.
“We did that. We got the crowd in,” Weber said. “I thought we continued it throughout the first half.”
Illinois kept pace in the Big Ten, one of four teams with four losses at the top of the standings. Indiana (13-10, 5-7) now has lost seven of its last eight.
Indiana switched to a 1-3-1 zone and cut Illinois’ 13-point halftime lead to 41-31 with 16:45 to go, but the Illini responded with a 7-0 run capped by Augustine’s dunk off a bounce pass from Dee Brown in the lane. He converted a three-point play to make it 48-31.
Augustine went to the bench with his fourth foul with 7:38 to play and the Hoosiers had a chance to climb back into the game when Brown left with his fourth with 5:11 left. They closed to within 11 on Roderick Wilmont’s jumper with 4:07 to go but Warren Carter answered and the Illini kept Indiana off the scoreboard until Brown and Augustine came back with 3:44 to go.
“When they’re on the bench, obviously it hurts us,” Brian Randle said. “But at the same time, for the young guys to step up and keep their composure, it’s huge.”
Augustine fouled out with 1:19 to go when he clipped Indiana’s Marco Killingsworth, who converted a three-point play to make it 65-55. But the Hoosiers could get no closer.
Randle scored 12 points for Illinois, including a driving first-half dunk that brought the orange-clad Assembly Hall crowd to its feet.
“I guess it just comes when it comes,” he said, trying to explain the high-flying move. “It’s not one of those things you plan.”
Brown had 10 points and four assists, and Carter added had nine points.
Killingsworth led the Hoosiers with 15 points, and Wilmont scored 10.
Davis said he thinks his team can play more relaxed now that the distraction surrounding his job status is resolved. So does Wilmont.
“It’s not a distraction anymore,” Wilmont said. “Now we know what the deal is. We can go out there and just play like we’ve been doing.”
Illinois’ early run began when Augustine hit a 15-foot jumper with 17:45 to go. Then Rich McBride hit a 3-pointer, Shaun Pruitt had a putback and Warren Carter’s layup ended a 9-0 spurt.