Depending on your perspective, either Illinois had an amazing comeback last night, or Northwestern was guilty of a monumental choke.
One way or another, Illinois closed the game on a 17-2 run over the final five minutes, erased a 57-43 deficit and came away with a 60-59 victory.
I give myself all the credit for the Illinois win. With about 11 minutes remaining, I was so furious with the Illini's lackluster play that I turned the game off. I was using way too much profanity in the newsroom and generally distracting my co-workers, so I decided the best course of action would be to quit watching and follow the rest of the game on my computer.
Once I did that, the Illini started coming back. For superstitious reasons, there was no way in hell I was going to turn the TV back on. I wasn't going to jinx it. Sure enough, Northwestern blew it. Demetri McCamey (pictured) netted the game-winning shot for the Illini with 2.9 seconds left.
I can't say Illinois deserved to win this game. The Illini were outhustled by Northwestern throughout the first half. They made only 2-of-12 from the foul line. For awhile, they were even getting outrebounded by a Wildcats team that is the worst on the boards in the Big Ten.
But Illinois came back and stole it in the final minutes. For us Illini fans, it was the perfect crime. The team stays in second place in the Big Ten with an 8-4 conference record, two games back of Michigan State with six games to play.
Next up, a Sunday afternoon game at Indiana. The Hoosiers are in last place, but I'm certain they'll be ready to play against Illinois. It's a big rivalry, and the teams and fan bases can't stand each other. We'll find out whether the Illini have the mental fortitude to get another win in a tough road environment.