NCAA Game Summary - Western Carolina at Illinois
(Tuesday, December 4th)
Final Score: (13) Illinois 72, Western Carolina 64
Champaign, IL (Sports Network) - D.J. Richardson scored 13 points and keyed a
late Illinois run with a pair of 3-pointers, as the 13th-ranked Fighting
Illini edged upset-minded Western Carolina, 72-64, at Assembly Hall.
Illinois (9-0), perhaps looking ahead to a meeting with No. 10 Gonzaga on
Saturday, needed a 12-2 run in the final stages to put away the Catamounts,
who were trying for their first-ever win against a ranked opponent.
Brandon Paul needed 15 shots to total 14 points, while Tracy Abrams added 10
points for the Illini, who shot just 7-of-24 from the perimeter.
"One area where we did get it done is we were able to win the game because we
were able to make big plays," Illinois coach John Groce said.
Preston Ross and Brandon Boggs netted 17 and 16 points, respectively, for
Western Carolina (3-6), which is 0-37 all-time against top-25 foes.
"I like Illinois' team," Western Carolina coach Larry Hunter said. "They've
got a lot of good pieces to the puzzle."
The Catamounts never led, thanks in part to shooting 27 percent from the floor
and committing 14 turnovers in the first half. They trailed, 32-22, at the
break, but got hot and pulled even when Ross converted a three-point play for
a 40-40 deadlock 6 1/2 minutes into the second half.
Eleven minutes later, Nnanna Egwu broke a tie game with a dunk, sparking
Illinois' clinching flurry. Richardson hit from long range on consecutive
possessions, and Abrams sank a fadeaway for a 66-56 cushion with 2:24 on the
The closest the visitors got from there was six.
A Richardson 3-pointer midway through the opening half gave Illinois a 17-7
lead, and it remained a 10-point margin at the intermission.
Illinois owns a 20-game non-conference home winning streak ... The Illini
scored 20 more points in the paint, 34-14 ... Illinois scored 29 points off 22
turnovers ... Western Carolina is 1-14 all-time against current members of the
Big Ten ... The Catamounts play will play just their second home game of the
season on Saturday when they host Appalachian State.
12/05 02:09:14 ET
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