CHAMPAIGN, Ill. The last time Illinois center Mike Tisdale faced Michigan s DeShawn Sims, he was so rattled that coach Bruce Weber pulled him out of the game early and took his chances that his team would be better off without him.
In that game, just last week in Ann Arbor, Sims finished with 14 points and nine rebounds, and Michigan won 74-64.
On Wednesday night in Champaign, after a challenge from Weber, the 7-foot-1 Tisdale had his revenge.
The sophomore scored 24 points, most off soft jump shots and all but six in the second half, in Illinois 66-51 victory over the 25th-ranked Wolverines.
He couldn t guard anybody, Weber said of Tisdale s game at Michigan. I said, Mike, at least compete. You have to fight these guys.
Michigan coach John Beilein, who stayed at 499 career wins, said Tisdale s height was too much for the Wolverines, whose tallest starter was the 6-8 Sims.
We re playing small, he said. I knew he could shoot from the outside.
Manny Harris had 20 points for the Wolverines (13-4, 3-2).
Sims finished with a quiet seven points on 3-of-14 shooting.
It s just aggression, I think, Illinois forward Mike Davis said. We really pushed up on them, tried to control them.
The Wolverines went up 31-30 at halftime, the game s 11th lead change. Neither team led by more than three points until then.
But Michigan opened the second half cold, including a 3-minute scoreless run that allowed the Illini to go up 39-34 on a jumper by Tisdale. Illinois never trailed again.
Tisdale s exclamation point was a long 3-pointer with just under 5 minutes left that gave Illinois a 57-45 lead and lit a fire under a near-capacity crowd.
McCamey provided the bulk of Illinois offense in the first half, with 15 points and two assists.
He provided a cool hand when most of his teammates were running, passing and shooting out of control.
That, Weber said, also limited Tisdale s first-half effectiveness.
We were attacking, but it was crazy attacking, Weber said. I said, Guys, we ve got to slow down; we ve got to be patient.
When we did get it to Mike, he was able to score. He just didn t get enough touches.
The Wolverines were 6-of-29 from the field in the second half, and Harris accounted for 15 of their 20 points after halftime.
Beilein said Illinois contested almost every shot in the second half.
They did some things to us that people haven t done all year, he said. It was a great, great scheme. It worked very well.
Michigan didn t get to the free throw line until the 18:15 mark of the second half, and were just 6-of-9 from the line.
Tisdale deflected questions about his turnaround Wednesday night, answering most with a a reply about how differently the team played when compared to last week s loss.
Obviously in Michigan it wasn t a great game, he said. It was a rough game for a lot of people.
Weber said his center takes those losses to heart, probably more than most players.
Sometimes he gets down on himself, Weber said. I think he beats himself up more than anybody.
Illinois has victories over three Top 25 teams, winning at Purdue and beating Missouri at a neutral site.