Illinois downs Georgia Tech to remain unbeaten
Champaign, IL (Sports Network) - Brandon Paul scored 15 points and pulled down seven rebounds to go with seven assists to lead No. 22 Illinois to a 75-62 decision over Georgia Tech at Assembly Hall.
Joseph Bertrand also finished with 15 points, while Tyler Griffey and D.J. Richardson posted 14 apiece for the Illini (8-0), who chalked up yet another victory for their conference in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge.
"Until you get to know him, Joe sometimes comes off like a quiet guy, but he's got some big-time energy," Illinois head coach John Groce said. "I very rarely will watch practice film or game film and say, 'Bertrand isn't playing hard.' "
Kammeon Holsey picked up 14 points for the Yellow Jackets (4-2), who have lost two of their last three. Mfon Udofia and Jason Morris contributed 10 points apiece in defeat.
"We didn't play very well at the end. Very similar to our other loss against Cal. We're just not quite tough enough at the end," Georgia Tech head coach Dino Gregory said.
Holsey's bucket with just over seven minutes left in regulation staked the visitors to as 58-54 lead, but Bertrand hit two jumpers sandwiched around consecutive triples to provide the hosts a 64-58 edge just over two minutes later and Illinois surged to victory.
Richardson connected from long distance a short time later for a seven-point advantage and Paul hit 1-of-2 from the line for an eight-point spread.
Holsey made his two from the line but Richardson countered with a trey for a nine-point advantage at 71-62, then Paul -- who made just 3-of-9 from the line -- and Richardson hit their foul shots down the stretch to salt away the victory.
Georgia Tech led by as many as six, 31-25 on a Morris dunk, in the latter stages of the first half, but Illinois used a late surge to pull ahead and hold onto a one-point edge at intermission.
Paul hit from long distance and Tracy Abrams finished off a three-point play for a tie game, then Paul hit a jumper to make it 33-31. Holsey made two from the charity stripe ahead of a Myke Henry three-pointer, then Daniel Miller's dunk ended the half at 36-35 for the hosts.
Illinois has won seven of the eight all-time meetings ... The Illini owned a slim 36-30 edge on the glass and turned the ball over 14 times to 17 for the Yellow Jackets ... Miller registered a game-best five blocks in defeat ... Illinois, which shot 47.4 from the field, made only 7-of-18 free throws.