Men's College Basketball
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Illinois remains undefeated, downs Norfolk State

Champaign, IL (Sports Network) - Brandon Paul had 14 points and eight rebounds in No. 10 Illinois' 64-54 victory over Norfolk State.

D.J. Richardson netted 11 points and Tracy Abrams added nine points for the Fighting Illini (11-0), who next play Eastern Kentucky on Sunday.

Rashid Gaston tallied 12 points and seven boards for Norfolk State (6-6), which had its four-game winning streak snapped.

The Spartans defeated Missouri in the second round of the NCAA Tournament as a No. 15 seed a year ago and were able to hang around until the end.

Illinois netted the first seven points of the second stanza and built a 39-29 cushion.

But the resilient Spartans battled back. They responded with the next seven points as Kris Brown nailed a 3-pointer and Gaston made a pair of buckets to cut the deficit to 39-36.

Later, Gaston's layup pulled the visitors within 54-51, but the Illini outscored Norfolk State, 10-3, the rest of the way as Illinois began to hit the offensive glass.

After both teams exchanged turnovers, Richardson's driving layup went down and Pendarvis Williams missed a triple at the other end for the Spartans.

With a little over a minute to play, Illinois took the clock down and Abrams missed a layup, but was able to secure his own rebound. He then missed a pair from the foul line, but Sam McLaurin was able to come down with the board made both his foul shots to make it 58-51 with 51 ticks to play.

The hosts made 6-of-8 from the line down the stretch to secure the win.

Norfolk State led, 24-19, with five minutes remaining in the opening half before the Illini countered with an 12-2 run before taking a 32-29 edge into the break.

Game Notes

Illinois pulled down 15 offensive boards and outrebounded Norfolk State, 38-30 ... Both teams shot 26.1 percent (6-of-23) from beyond the arc ... Illinois shot just 35 percent (21-of-60) from the field.

12/11 22:36:24 ET

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