Tisdale stands out in Illinois scrimmage

John Supinie

Illinois sophomore center Mike Tisdale temporarily eased concerns about replacing the scoring lost from two graduated senior big men with his scoring performance in the orange and blue men's basketball scrimmage before a crowd of 2,532 on Sunday at Assembly Hall.

During the four 8-minute quarters, Tisdale scored 26 points and grabbed seven rebounds. He was 11-for-15 from the field and made all four free throws.

"With any big man, his role should be as a scorer in the post and hit open jumpers,'' said the former Riverton High School all-stater, who declared himself 100 percent after surgery in late September to repair a muscle herniation in his leg.

For those keeping score, the Blue beat the Orange 79-66, but the rosters were shuffled after every quarter. Point guard Demetri McCamey's team won three of the four quarters, a positive sign to coach Bruce Weber. Things get a little more real when Illinois hosts Division II Florida Southern in the exhibition opener Sunday.

The biggest concern for Weber remained his big men after the loss of Shaun Pruitt and Brian Randle, who were two of the top three scorers and the top two rebounders last season. Tisdale's ability to hit the open shot and a left-handed hook not seen since the 7-foot-1 Tisdale wore a Riverton uniform caught Weber's attention.

"Not only did he hit those little short-corner jumpers and from the free-throw line, he also posted up strong a couple times,'' Weber said. "He's got a lefty hook that we've been begging him to do. In high school, he always shot that lefty hook.

"He's not a big bulky post-up guy, but he's still got to get some points around the basket.''

Senior Calvin Brock had 22 points. McCamey finished with 14 points and 11 assists. Guard Alex Legion and center Richard Semrau scored 14 points each. Weber also liked his team's shooting ability. At one point Sunday, the Illini made seven straight field goal attempts.

"We couldn't make seven straight last year if we were the only team in the gym,'' Weber said. "When people ask 'What's the difference from last year?' It's not even a question.''

The Illini can shoot, if the 53.1 percent performance overall in the scrimmage was any indication.

"Now can we get open shots?'' Weber said. "That's my question. We have skilled guys. Now do we have the strength to get open shots? Can we rebound?''

Sophomore forward Bill Cole didn't play because of a sprained ankle.

John Supinie can be reached at

Illinois scrimmage

Blue (79)

Keller 2-5 0-0 4, Tisdale 4-4 2-2 10, Meacham 2-4 0-0 5, Brock 5-7 1-2 12, McCamey 4-10 4-4 14, Frazier 2-4 2-2 6, Jordan 0-1 0-0 0, Chisolm 0-0 0-0 0, Simpson 3-4 0-0 6, Davis 3-4 0-0 6, Legion 3-7 2-2 10, Jackson 1-1 0-0 2, Semrau 2-2 0-0 4. Totals 31-53 11-12 79.

Orange (66)

Davis 4-4 0-0 9, Semrau 3-5 4-6 10, Frazier 0-3 0-0 0, Jordan 4-7 0-1 8, Legion 2-9 0-0 4, Meacham 2-6 0-0 5, Simpson 1-2 0-0 2, Keller 1-3 1-2 3, Brock 4-7 0-0 10, Jackson 0-1 0-0 0, Tisdale 7-11 2-2 16. Totals 28-58 7-11 66.

Three-pointers: Blue 6-17 (Meacham 1-2, Brock 1-1, McCamey 2-7, Frazier 0-2, Legion 2-5), Orange 3-16 (Frazier 0-1, Jordan 0-2, Legion 0-5, Meacham 1-4, Keller 0-1, Brock 2-3).

Rebounds: Blue 25 (McCamey 5), Orange 27 (Tisdale 6).

Blue 18-23-19-19 – 79

Orange 12-18-16-20 -- 66