Postgame Notes: Illinois 57, Minnesota 49
March 22, 2013
No. 7 Illinois 57, No. 10 Colorado 49
1. With today's win, Illinois advances to the third round (round of 32) of the NCAA Tournament where they'll face No. 2 seed Miami on Sunday, March 24 (time and TV TBA). The Illini and 5th ranked Hurricanes have met just once previously, an 86-78 Illinois win on Dec. 28, 1968.
2. Illinois is now 40-30 all-time (.571) in 30 NCAA Tournament appearances and 29-14 (.674) when playing as a higher seed. The Illini are now 1-1 in the NCAA Tournament in Austin and 1-1 playing as a No. 7 seed.
3. Illinois head coach John Groce won his first NCAA Tourney game as head coach of the Fighting Illini and improves to 4-2 all-time in the Big Dance as a head coach (3-2 record with Ohio University).
4. The Illini took a 37-21 lead into halftime after outscoring the Buffaloes 26-6 over the final 12:27 of the half, including a 13-0 run over the final 7:06, which was capped by a Tracy Abrams three-pointer just before the halftime buzzer.
5. Colorado began the second half on a 23-2 run to take a 44-39 lead with 9:28 left, but the Illini countered with a 16-2 run of their own over the next nine minutes to pull away.
6. The Fighting Illini defense held the Buffaloes to just five points on 2-13 shooting and forced five turnovers over the last 9:20 of the game, turning the five-point deficit into an eight-point victory.
7. The Illini won despite making just three baskets in the second half (3-22 FG), with all three buckets coming in a span of 2:27. Illinois missed its first 14 shots after the intermission, finally getting a layup from Tracy Abrams at the 8:33 mark, and then got back-to-back threes from D.J. Richardson and Brandon Paul at 6:30 and 6:06, respectively, to take a 48-44 lead at the 6:06 mark. The Illini scored their final nine points of the game from the free throw line, hitting 9-of-14 over the final 5:18.
8. The Illini defense limited Colorado leading scorer (15.6 ppg) and first-team All-Pac 12 selection Spencer Dinwiddie (15.6 ppg) to just six points on 1-8 FG shooting (0-5 3FG), his lowest scoring output since he had five points on 1-of-7 FG against USC on Jan. 10.
9. The Illini were +13 in points off turnovers, scoring 21 points off 15 Colorado miscues, while allowing just eight points on 12 turnovers of their own. The UI defense also kept the Buffaloes from scoring a single second-chance point despite allowing CU eight offensive rebounds.
10. Senior guard Brandon Paul led the Illini in scoring with 17 points, including 9-of-10 shooting at the free throw line to move past Andy Kaufmann (1989-93) and into fourth on the UI career FT made list with 401. It was the 22nd time this season Paul led Illinois in scoring, including each of the last five games, and the 40th time in his career.
11. D.J. Richadson (14 points) and Tracy Abrams (13 points) also scored in double figures for the Orange and Blue, while Nnanna Egwu led the team in rebounding with eight and Abrams dished out a game-high six assists.
12. Seniors Brandon Paul and D.J. Richardson both played their 137th game as Illini today, moving into a tie for fourth on the Illinois career games played list with Dee Brown (2003-06) and James Augustine (2003-06). They're just two shy of the school record of 139, which is shared by Demetri McCamey (2008-11) and Mike Tisdale (2008-11).