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It’s just an exhibition game, but Ed Hightower’s presence in the stripey shirt meant this game was not mere pretend. Florida Southern wing-forward Preston Fredrick probably doesn’t know who Ed Hightower is. But he was the only big man, for either team, who brought his A-game Sunday.

Illinois had more points at the end of the exhibition, 82–61. It’s not so much a victory as a discovery of strengths and weaknesses.


Illinois sophomore center Mike Tisdale seemed dumbfounded in the early going. Rarely did he face fellow seven-footers in high school. Georgia transfer Rashaad Singleton lacks Tisdale’s stoop. And he moved faster, too. Singleton might be fantastic, were it not for a hard case of James Augustine Disease. In under five minutes, he garnered two fouls. But fouls don’t really matter in an exhibition. So Singleton just went ahead and made it clear whose Daddy was whom’s. Here, for example, is tSingleton Pee W eN 3 Deeing our guy.

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Augustine disease is catching. Rob Eldridge had four fouls by the under-eight minute timeout. He kept it up. And by gentlemen’s agreement, continued to exhibit his fouling repertoire into a second bunch of five. This agreement allowed the Moccasins players more floor time, but also provided hard lessons for the Illini.

Mike Davis responded to Singleton’s physical dominance with lightning speed — following-up a Singleton rejection with an immediate second attempt, and scoring it. Tisdale may not have the quickness to follow up. His second half scoring came with little defense.

Tisdale is not likely to encounter many fleet, athletic, strong seven-footers this season. And perhaps he will figure out how to finesse them. The best option today was to insert Davis or Richard Semrau in the frontcourt. They were happy to display their quickness and intensity. Davis tallied 11 points, and six rebounds in 14 minutes. Semrau added seven and six in 18.

But it was Semrau who let Preston Fredrick knife through to the basket for Florida Southern. Quick feet and court awareness garned Fredrick cheap baskets, and expensive fouls for Illinois. Fredrick scored seven of his 13 points at the charity stripe, hanging Semrau, Tisdale and Bill Cole with three, five, and three fouls respectively. Fredrick was simply faster to his spots, and quick with the ball.

Moccasins coach Linc Darner thinks Fredrick was able to play with abandon because he had absolutely no idea where, and perhaps who, he was.


Chester Frazier once again led the Illini with three free throws, three assists, a steal, and a pervasive spirit. “Chester really didn’t score,” Coach Bruce Weber recounted, from a previously memorized speech, “He just does so many other things for us that are important.”

Trent Meacham hit four of his six three pointers and led the Illini with 17 points. “Our seniors were very good, I thought,” Weber said.

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Sunday’s top Illini performer was arguably Jeff Jordan. In a rigid system of positioning, where the emphasis falls on placement and rotation, Jordan found himself continually in the right place at the right time — both on offense

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and defense.

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Jordan finished with two steals, six points, an assist and two turnovers. Like Frazier, the impact of his game doesn’t necessarily show in traditional statistics.

Senior swingman Calvin Brock (ten and eight in 19) provided good numbers, but being neither a big guy nor a small guy, his game can’t counter opponents with whom he simply does not match up. He might have been effective in slowing down the lithe Fredrick, but he didn’t get that assignment (this time).

Most observers felt Demetri McCamey played poorly against the Mocs. I think he was anticipating tonight’s dinner at The Beef House.

Single game tickets went on sale this morning. For the first time in years, you could go to a basketball game. (In fact, all of them.)

In the postgame press conference, Bruce Weber spoke hearteningly of an exchange with Semrau and his parents. It’s here, the the big long postgame MP3, but if you can’t wait: Richard kinda wondered whether he had fallen outside the planning boundaries re: the team’s future. Weber says not at all. Only Semrau’s plague of injuries kept him back. Look for a confidence-infused Richard Semrau to begin setting the framework for a Semraucentric team, presently.

Your starting five:

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Mike Tisdale, Trent Meacham, Calvin Brock, Chester Frazier, Demetri McCamey.

LOOKS GOOD IN ORANGE

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Orange of the Week winner Linda Faullin found this exquisite piece in, of all places, the Carle Hospital Gift Shop. Or so she says. I think she’s pulling our collective leg.

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Mimi and John Newman couldn’t decide between whispering and SHOUTING orange, so they wore one of each.

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Jim Kogut found this piece at Campus Sportswear. Hope Eastin isn’t saying where hers came from.

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Judge Robert and Sherry Steigmann have the best seats in the house. And she talks on the phone only during timeouts.

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Eric Robeson, on the other hand, comes to schmooze.