Illinois uses big 2nd half to top Brown, 89-68
CHAMPAIGN, Ill. (AP) In 59 seconds, Illinois took control of a tie game and never looked back.
Over those 59 seconds in the beginning the second half against Brown on Monday, the Illini went on a 9-0 run that turned a tie game into a nine-point lead that they would not relinquish.
Aaron Cosby scored 18 points, with 13 in the first five minutes of the second half, as Illinois (4-0) topped Brown (1-4) 89-68 on Monday night.
Brown took a 35-31 lead into halftime by shooting 51.9 percent from the field. Illinois' offense, which entered the game averaging 100.3 points per game, was limited to 30.6 percent from the floor in the first half.
''Obviously a tale of two halves,'' Illinois coach John Groce said. ''They played with a little more toughness than us and a little more sense of urgency than us.''
The game-changing run started with a steal by Rayvonte Rice, who was fouled on a fast break layup after he picked off a pass.
On the next possession, Jaylon Tate got a steal off of a deflection from center Nnanna Egwu and pushed the ball coast to coast. Hanging in midair, Tate wrapped around a Brown defender in the paint and found a wide-open Cosby in the corner for three.
Cosby did the work himself on the Bears' next possession, making a steal and drawing an intentional foul by Steven Spieth. Cosby nailed both free throws and followed it with a layup on the ensuing possession to push the lead to nine.
After that, Brown never threatened and the lead reached as high as 24 in the second half.
''We picked it up defensively, we played more connected,'' Cosby said, who set a new season-high for points. ''In the first half, I thought we tried to outscore them, rather than trying to stop them.''
In the second half, Illinois shot 73.1 percent from the field and was 4-of-6 from behind the 3-point line. After its sluggish first half, Illinois dropped 58 points in the second half.
''I thought we stuck to our plan and executed for 20 minutes,'' Brown coach Mike Martin said. ''They're a type of team with their depth, athleticism and skill, that can really wear on you for 40 minutes.''
Rice added 15 points and 10 rebounds for his first double-double of the season. Five Illinois players reached double figures.
Spieth led Brown with 21 points and seven rebounds. He was an efficient 7-of-10 from the field but had four turnovers. Sophomore Leland King was held to seven points after back-to-back games of scoring 25 points.
Brown: Spieth reached double figures for the first time this season. He hasn't shot better than 25 percent from the floor in four games this season.
Illinois: After only a combined six rebounds in the team's first two games, Egwu gathered eight rebounds Monday.
Brown will face Austin Peay in Las Vegas on Thursday.
Illinois will face Indiana State in Las Vegas on Thursday.
With 2:31 left in the first half, Egwu was issued a technical foul for reaching out-of-bounds and touching the ball on an inbounds play. Egwu was guarding the ball while jumping up and down and flailing his arms to distract the pass when the referees gave him the technical.
Brown ended the first half on a 10-3 run after the foul.
Rice was given a technical foul for hanging on the rim after an alley-oop dunk with 12:00 remaining in the second half.