Illini Wonk
Saturday, November 26, 2005
  Illini survive WSU: Face Rutgers in Final
Thanks to the late heroics of Warren Carter, the Illinois Fighting Illini men's basketball team defeated Wichita State 55-54 and advance to face Rutgers in the final of the South Padre Island Invitational. The win gives the #14 ranked Illini their fourth straight win to open the season.

The Illini started the game well and jumped out to a 15-6 lead five minutes from the tip-off. But with 6:26 left in the first half, WSU took the lead and would not relenquish it until a James Augustine jumper with 4:46 left in the game. The Illini again lost the lead and it took a basket from Carter with 1.2 seconds remaining to get the win for the Illini. Stu Durando reports that they play was a whim of Bruce Weber's.

James Augustine led the Illini with a double-double of 14 points and 10 rebounds. Dee Brown had a miserable stat sheet that included 3-14 from the field, 0-2 from the freethrow line and five turnovers. It is not surprising, then, that Mark Tupper concluded from the game that this team simply can't rely on its guards to carry the load the way last season's Illini team could do.

On his blog, Tupper says that Rutgers won't be easy either, but he's predicting an Illinois win, 64-57. For the official game notes, click here.
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