Brandon Paul scored 35 points to lead No. 13 Illinois over No. 10 Gonzaga 85-74 on Saturday in a matchup of unbeaten teams. Tracy Abrams added 14 points for Illinois (10-0) and new coach John Groce is off to the best debut for an Illinois coach in the team’s modern history.
Kelly Olynyk scored 16 points to lead Gonzaga (9-1).
Myke Henry’s basket gave Illinois its first lead of the game at 44-43 in the opening seconds of the second half, and the Illini pushed that to 54-49 by making all five of their field goals to open the half.
FINAL: Brandon Paul scored 35 points and grabbed four rebounds to lift No. 14 Illinois to an 85-74 upset win over No. 10 Gonzaga on Saturday at McCarthey Athletic Center in Spokane. Illinois shot 50 percent from the field (30-of-60), including 42 percent from downtown (11-of-26). Tracy Abrams added 14 points and D.J. Richardson 11 for the Illini, who moved to 10-0 with the victory. Kelly Olynyk contributed 16 points, pulled down eight rebounds, and went 7-of-9 from the field for Gonzaga (9-1) in the loss.
HALFTIME: No. 10 Gonzaga and No. 14 Illinois go into the half even at 41, with a standout performance from the Fighting Illini’s Brandon Paul, who has scored 18 points. Tyler Griffey hit a buzzer-beater to draw the Illini even before the half. The Bulldogs have been effective inside, making 12-of-17 two-point field goals, but Gonzaga has struggled on the perimeter, shooting 2-for-6 from three-point range. The Bulldogs’ Kelly Olynyk had a big first half, with eight points and four rebounds.
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