Illinois-Missouri: Illini Keep Braggin' Rights After Hammering Tigers

Oliver VanDervoortCorrespondent IDecember 23, 2008

Illinois' redemption season just keeps getting better and better.  Trent Meachem and Demetri McCamey each scored over 20 points, and the Fighting Illini beat Missouri for an astounding ninth straight time.

McCamey helped Illinois build a 40-22 lead at the half, scoring 18 of his 20 points in the first period, after scoring just seven points in his last outing against the Detroit Titans.

The win was Illinois’ first signature victory of the season, and it was especially sweet because of the heightened atmosphere that surrounds the yearly matchup of the two teams.  A nearly evenly split crowd braved icy conditions outside to almost fill the 19,000-seat Scottrade Center.

Leo Lyons was the lone bright spot for the Tigers, as he scored 22 points on seven of 12 shooting from the field. Only one other Tiger managed double-digit scoring, and the team as a whole shot just 37 percent from the field.

Most impressive defensively for the Illini was their ability to harness DeMarre Carroll.  Carroll came into the game averaging 17 points per game, along with seven rebounds, but managed just six points on two of six shooting and notched a single rebound.

The loss snapped Missouri's seven-game winning streak and probably ended a short stay in the Top 25, having just been voted in a day ago after a long absence from the rankings.

Illinois will next wrap up its non-conference schedule this Sunday against Eastern Michigan, and then begin a murderous start to the Big Ten season.  The Fighting Illini will face off against current Top 25 teams in five of their first seven conference games.