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Bluejay Rewind: Jays vs Illinois St. (1/20/03)

Ed. Note: This is the part of our summer series that will look back at games from years past, including highlight packages. Not all of these games are classics in the traditional sense, but all of them feature terrific performances from Bluejay greats, and we think you’ll enjoy watching them as much as we did.

Two days after defeating Southern Illinois in one of the all-time classics in CU history, the Jays returned to the court with their first-ever Top Ten ranking. The opponent was a team from the opposite end of the MVC spectrum, an Illinois State team with an 0-6 record in league play and a 1-13 overall record.

As you’d expect, this one got ugly in a hurry; the Jays led wire-to-wire, coasting to a 95-82 win in front of a sold-out crowd. It tends to be forgotten now, overshadowed by Kyle Korver’s great senior season, but there were many nights during that campaign when he took a backseat and allowed someone else with a hot hand to take the lead. This was one of those nights.

Larry House was feeling it early, and Korver was content to feed him early and often. “La Casa” finished with a career-high in both points and rebounds (23 and 8), and had a couple of highlight reel moves around the rim that are no less astonishing a decade later than they were at the time.

The impetus for House’s explosion was a show of disrespect he got from the Redbirds ten days earlier in the team’s first meeting, a 76-57 Bluejay win. “When we played at their place, they played off of me a little bit,” House told the media after the game. “When teams play off of me, it upsets me because I feel like I’m a player. It kind of hurt my feelings, to tell you the truth.”

Dana Altman was appreciative of the offensive outburst, but also made sure to point out his other contributions. “Everyone is going to talk about his points, and yeah, he had a nice offensive game. But he had eight rebounds and he tried to guard. Defensively, his knees were bent and he slid his feet. Physically, he tried to compete.”

What really stands out in this game, however, is the Jays’ press. They had 13 — yes, 13! — steals in the game, and seemed to be running a fastbreak the entire night as a result. It’s all those steals that make this game so fun to relive, despite the mediocrity of the opponent. Enjoy!

Next week: Creighton plays host to the first-ever BracketBuster game, tangling with Fresno State at the Civic.

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