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Illinois Beats Wayne State College in Pre-Season Men’s Basketball

The Illini men's basketball team opened the 2012 season last night with a 79-51 exhibition win over Nebraska's Wayne State College.

The Wayne State Wildcats stayed competitive in the first half, and even led the game at the beginning of the 2nd half. But then, the Illinois points started to add up.

Meyers Leonard and Brandon Paul led Illinois in scoring, with 18 and 16 respectively. Freshman Mike Shaw grabbed 8 rebounds. Wayne State College's Amry Shelby scored a game-high 22 points.

With seven newcomers, much is unknown about this Illini team. Coach Bruce Weber says even the players aren't sure what to expect.

"To me the funniest thing was starting lineup --- most of them have never started, Weber said. "They didn't know what to do. When they introduced them, I don't know if you guys noticed -- they didn't know to go shake hands with the other players, be up at half-court --- they were kind of running around with their heads cut off, shaking the hands of the referee. But it kind of shows you where we're at, as far as a lot of new people."

Injuries kept Illinois newcomers Sam Maniscalco , Mike Henry and Devin Langford on the bench. Sophomore Crandall Head sat out for undisclosed disciplinary reasons -- the first of a four game suspension for Head.

Weber attributes the rash of injuries to the team's aggressive, competitive practices -- where walk-ons Kevin Beradini and Canadian Jean Selus are among the few men left standing.

"We had a day last week where Tracy (Abrams) had his tooth knocked loose, Tyler (Griffey) had stitched in his head, Joe (Bertrand) got a hip-pointer, Mike Henry got a quad strain and contusion, Sammy has been boogered up. And we're down to like, eight, nine guys. Canada (Jean Selus) and Kevin's got a lot of practice time.

The wounded have until Monday to heal. That's when the Illini host Quincy for the next exhibition game of the men's basketball pre-season.

Categories: Education, Sports