Coming off their first loss to UNLV over the weekend, #25 Illinois was hoping for a little better showing Monday night instead of their 64-60 win over Cornell. Illini coach Bruce Weber said, “The last stretch of the game I thought we played harder. Finally, we picked up the intensity and did a better job defending.” Will Illinois be able to deliver that intensity for a full 40 minutes against Missouri?
Illinois opened the second half 1 for 13 from the field and fell behind 42-36, then put together a 14-6 run to regain the lead. The teams exchanged leads until the final minute, when Illinois went ahead for good. Brandon Paul broke out of a scoring slump with 15 points on 4-of-8 shooting for Illinois and knows the Illini need to be ready to go right from the opening tip. “If we come out the way we did tonight, the game will be over before we know it.”