His seats couldn’t have been any further from the court — the section formerly known as C, in the building formerly known as the Assembly Hall — but landing any ticket dated Sunday, Jan. 22, 1989 was considered a coup.
“The Flyin’ Illini were playing Georgia Tech in a late afternoon game that was nationally televised,” says now-Kane County Circuit Court Judge and then-UI junior Clint Hull, who took in the game with his Alpha Delta Phi fraternity brothers. “The Number 1 team in the country (Duke) lost the day before so an Illini victory would mean a Number 1 ranking — the first for the Illini in years.”
A packed house, who six days earlier had seen Nick Anderson & Co. throttle Chris Jackson and LSU, 127-100, in Baton Rouge, sensed a Sunday afternoon blowout. But Georgia Tech had other ideas, jumping out to a 16-point second-half lead and ultimately forcing overtime.
“Fellow season ticket holder Scott Holwick and I were both resident advisors at the Illinois Street Residence Halls and had a mandatory meeting at 6 p.m.,” Hull says. “The OT started at 5:45. We planned to watch the Illini win and run to the meeting to make it on time.
“The second OT started around 6:05 p.m. We stayed. Better to watch the Illini ascend to Number 1 and face the wrath of our resident director than to miss an Illini win.
“Illinois won in the second OT. The Orange Krush was rocking. There were chants of ‘ILL-INI’ throughout the stadium. Our Illini were Number 1.
“Lucky for us, our RD was late as well. Yep, he was at the game too.”