Indiana 62, ILLINOIS 58

Kelvin Sampson walks off the court after the win.

For Indiana coach Kelvin Sampson, Sunday’s win against Illinois was affirmation that his team has at least one of the intangibles required to be a good basketball team.

“I think the sign of a pretty good team, at least, is finding a way to win games when maybe you’re not on the top of your game,” Sampson told the assembled media members.

For Illinois’ Bruce Weber, Sunday was another instance of his team doing everything it takes to stay close in a tough game except execute at the end. Coming into the game, the Illini had either led, been tied or trailed by only two points in the final two minutes of five out of eight loses.

That happened again at Assembly Hall. Weber’s team had several chances to tie it at 60 but Demetri McCamey couldn’t draw contact as he went to the rim.

“That’s what we’ve told him: you gotta go in at the basket,” Weber said. “He avoided contact again and did a double duper duper. I have no idea what it was.”

Ratliff made a clean block, and Randle got a chance to take a shot. He missed.

Weber, who might seem constantly exasperated because of his on-court antics, seemed honestly weary of having his team come close but not finish.

“Sooner or later we gotta have something good happen (at the end),” he said. “How many times can we go through this?”