Illini's Brandon Paul named Big Ten Player of the Week after scoring 35 vs. Gonzaga

US PRESSWIRE

Brandon Paul won his second career Big Ten Player of the Week award for scoring 35 points in a big win against a Gonzaga team that entered their matchup against Illinois undefeated.

Brandon Paul earned a much-deserved Big Ten Player of the Week honor for his play against the Gonzaga Bulldogs on the road, drilling five threes in a 35-point outing to help the Illinois Fighting Illini hand the then-No. 10 team in the country their first loss of the season.

Paul's award-winning week technically also included a 14-point outing in an ugly win over Western Carolina, but he's getting the honor for the Gonzaga win. The team was down by 10 before Paul took over, scoring 35 points on an incredibly efficient 16 shots by drilling from downtown and getting to the line. It's not the first time Paul has won the award after a ridiculous outing, as he got the same title last year when he dropped 43 points on the No. 5 Ohio State Buckeyes thanks to 8-of-10 three-point shooting.

Paul has had quite the season in the early going of his senior year: the 6-foot-4 guard is well in first on the team in scoring, leading the squad with 19.5 points. He's seen an uptick across the boards, scoring over five more points per game than last season, shooting at career-high percentages both overall and from beyond the arc, and even bumping his assists per game to a career-high 3.8 per game. He's always been a truly dangerous shooter, and that hasn't let off, as Saturday's win was his third five three-pointer outing of the year. But he's showing his versatility as a senior to guide what's proving to be a very dangerous Illinois team.

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