Illinois has been doing it the hard way all season. Why change just because it’s the NCAA tournament? After letting a big first-half lead slip away Friday, senior guards Brandon Paul and D.J. Richardson bailed out the Illini with consecutive 3-pointers with 6 minutes to play and No. 7 seed Illinois pulled out a tough 57-49 win over No. 10 Colorado in the second round of East Regional of the NCAA tournament.
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FINAL: Illinois used stingy defense to defeat Colorado 57-49 on Friday at Frank Erwin Special Events Center in Austin in the second round of the NCAA Tournament.
Illinois (23-12) held Colorado (21-12) to 33 percent shooting from the field and grabbed 27 defensive rebounds, while only allowing 10 offensive rebounds.
Tracy Abrams helped spark the Fighting Illini, with 13 points, four rebounds, and six assists.
Illinois shot just 31 percent from the field (16-of-52). The Fighting Illini went 17-of-24 from the charity stripe as a team (71 percent). Illinois also got double-digit efforts from D.J. Richardson (14 points) and Brandon Paul (17 points).
Josh Scott had eight points and corralled 13 rebounds for the Buffaloes in a losing effort. Colorado got double-figure scoring from Askia Booker (14 points).
The Fighting Illini trailed 15-11 in the first, but a 26-6 run allowed them to take a 16-point lead late in the first. Abrams finished the run off with a field goal, which helped Illinois lead 37-21 at halftime
HALFTIME: Tracy Abrams and D.J. Richardson have teamed up to give Illinois a 37-21 lead over Colorado. Abrams scored nine points, had four assists, and shot 3-of-5 from the field. Richardson scored 11 points and grabbed three rebounds.
The Fighting Illini were trailing 15-11 before Illinois went on a 26-6 run to take the lead late in the half. Trailing 24-21, the Buffaloes went cold, going 6:44 without a point while the Fighting Illini went on a 13-0 run to open up a 16-point lead. Josh Scott is leading Colorado. The freshman has four points and six rebounds.
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