Illinois hungry for another win in Arizona


PHOENIX (WCIA) — Grand Canyon University Arena has a reputation, it’s loud and they cause havoc. They did exactly that to Illinois on Friday night but Illinois escaped with a 83-71 win .

“Spectacular. It’s spectacular. I’m a huge fan of extremely loud.,” says Illinois head coach Brad Underwood. “This ranks right up there, the louder the better and literally we’re in a timeout and guys can’t hear.”

“We all knew from the beginning, from the jump that we were all going to have to stay together, listen real carefully and stay locked in because of how loud the crowd was,” says Illinois guard Alan Griffin.

The Illini now turn their sights to the #21 ranked Arizona Wildcats. They have to treat it almost like an NCAA tournament game. It follow the same format of the tournament– win on Friday, then prepare for another game two days later on Sunday.

“Well the first focus is hydrating, and eating, and getting some sleep,” says
Illinois head coach Brad Underwod. “This is an NCAA tournament type setting, We play a game, now granted we’ve got to get on a bus and go a couple hours but then it’s to the next opponent.”

“We didn’t just come to this trip just to won one game, we came to win two,” says forward Giorgi Bezhanishvili. “We’ll start prepping tonight, then we will prep tomorrow and hopefully get another win on Sunday night.”

One of the most memorable Illinois basketball games ever was between Illinois and Arizona, the 2005 NCAA tournament comeback that the Illini won. The two programs have faced off twice since then, with Arizona winning both contests. Illini trying to end that drought on Sunday, when they take on the Wildcats at 8 p.m. CT.

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