Illinois pulls away, wins big over VCU in Miami
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MIAMI (AP) Sophomore Leron Black tied a career high with 18 points and Illinois held Virginia Commonwealth to 30-percent shooting to win 64-46 Saturday in the HoopHall Miami Invitational at the Miami Heat’s arena.
Malcolm Hill added 16 points, five assists and two steals, and Jalen Coleman-Lands had 12 points for Illinois (6-3).
VCU (6-2), which was off to its best start since 1993, had a three-game winning streak snapped.
Black went 6 for 13, had eight rebounds and was chosen the game’s most valuable player. The Rams shot a season-worst 16 for 53, including 2 for 18 (11 percent) from 3-point range.
JeQuan Lewis, averaging a team-high 15.7 points, was held to three points and shot 1 for 7 from 3-point range. He limped out of the game at one point, and although he returned, he played only 21 minutes.
Mo Alie-Cox led the Rams with 10 points. They came in shooting 50 percent this season and had scored at least 63 points in every game.
Illinois outscored VCU 14-3 in the final 4:20.
The Illini missed 10 of their first 11 shots while falling behind 11-4. A 9-0 run put them ahead 22-14, and they led the rest of the way, although VCU scored 11 consecutive points to cut the margin to 35-34 early in the second half.
Illinois: The Illini won with defense for a change. They scored at least 79 points in their five previous wins, and had allowed at least 62 points in every game.
VCU: Lewis wasn’t the only VCU player to struggle with his shot. Samir Doughty went 3 for 11, and starter Doug Brooks was 0 for 5.
Illinois: The Illini return home to play IUPUI on Tuesday.
VCU: The Rams play host to Virginia Tech on Wednesday.