Illinois Fighting Illini humiliate Coppin State Eagles 80-63 - NCAA Basketball
Illinois Fighting Illini are yet to lose a game in the NCAA Basketball Tournament 2011.
In their last game against St. Bonaventure Bonnies, they looked awful and gave their worst performance of the tournament, but because of the mammoth confidence they had gained through the previous wins, they still managed to finish on top.
Just few hours ago, learning from their mistakes in the last game, Illini bounced back strong and putting up yet another dominating performance, crushed fragile Coppin State Eagles 80-63 to improve their unbeaten record to 10-0.
Illini were aggressive and shot season best 10 three-pointers in the game tonight along with an impressive 56 percent from inside the arc.
D.J Richardson marshalled them with 20 points including 4 for 8 from the downtown. Meyers Leonard was also superb and completed a double-double by pounding 18 points on an accurate 4 for 4 from the charity stripe and forcing 11 rebounds, while Brandon Paul
and Sam Maniscalco both added 12.
For Eagles, Tony Gallo scored the game high 21 points on 4 for 8 from the downtown, while Michael Harper, who came off the bench late, chipped in with 13. No other player from the side managed to produce a decent tally, which is why Eagles had to face a
humiliating defeat in the end.
First 10 minutes of the game were exciting and competitive as both teams fought out well to gain the dominance. Scores got levelled on many instances and there was no obvious leader out of the two.
Things started to change after the 10th minute.
Scores were tied at 20 all and all of a sudden, Illini changed gears and initiated a 16-2 run, led by D.J’s driving layup to turn the momentum into Illini’s side.
Although Gallo and Michael Murray bolted a late 8-2 run in the frame, but Eagles still found themselves trailing behind 38-30 by the end of the half.
It only took 3 minutes for Illini to boost the lead to double digits 42-32 in the next half and after three more minutes, it mounted to 17 points 54-37, courtesy of D.J and Brandon’s aggressive play.
Game was slipping away from Eagles and a gallant effort was required from them to get themselves back on track. That is when Gallo and Harper jumped in an bolted an outstanding 20-5 run that got Eagles back in the game with scores 59-57- Illini just ahead
by 2 points.
Unfortuantely for Eagles, they stopped there and could only manage to score 6 more points until the end, in contrast to Illini, who scored 21 more points to complete yet another massive victory.