Illinois basketball: Illini find their stroke from outside in season-opening win

Don McPeak-US PRESSWIRE

The Fighting Illini rode strong outside shooting to a 75-55 home win over Colgate in their first game with new coach John Groce.

The Illinois Fighting Illini got the John Groce era off to a strong start Saturday with a sharp-shooting 75-55 win over Colgate at Assembly Hall in Champaign.

The Illini opened the game with four consecutive three-pointers and finished 13-of-30 from behind the arc. Having committed to an "Orange Hush" until the Illini scored their 10th point, the home crowd cheered for the first time when sophomore swingman Myke Henry swished a three to put his team up up 12-4, CSN Chicago's Chris Davis reported.

Illinois found itself in a tie ballgame six minutes in, but rode two 12-0 runs en route to a 43-25 halftime advantage. The Illini pushed the lead to 20 in the second half and maintained it through the final buzzer. After scoring only eight points in the paint in the first half, Illinois scored 18 from close range in the second half.

For the game, the Illini only shot 39 percent from the field, but with 74-total field goal attempts, it was more than enough to come out with a win. Senior guard Brandon Paul led Illinois with 20 points, eight rebounds and five assists.

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