Illini find their groove with win against Vanderbilt
Illinois guard Brandon Paul (3) looks to pass over Vanderbilt forward Jeffery Taylor (44) during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game on Tuesday, Dec. 8, 2009, in Champaign, Ill. (AP Photo/Darrell Hoemann) By Darrell Hoemann
The Illini definitely had their swag on when they took the court at the Assembly Hall against Vanderbilt on Tuesday night. The team danced to F.L.Y.’s “Swag Surfin’” on a boom box in the locker room before tip-off to pump up.
The first 40 seconds summed up exactly what the team had in mind and provoked head coach Bruce Weber to applaud his team on the sidelines immediately. Freshman Brandon Paul made his first shot, junior Mike Tisdale stole the ball on the opposite end and then Demetri McCamey sank a 3-pointer to quickly put Illinois ahead 5-0.
The Illini built on their lead throughout the rest of the night to cruise to a 79-68 victory against the Commodores, their toughest opponent at home so far this season.
“We got it rockin’ a little bit,” Weber said. “It’s hard to describe it, but when you make those jumpers and you’re feeling it, you make another jumper and you get that groove going ... I thought we played at a high level right out of the gate."
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