Illinois downs Northeastern 63-55 in season opener
CHAMPAIGN, Ill. (AP)—Illinois struggled to find its rhythm early, but a 10-0 run to start the second half propelled the Illini to a 63-55 victory over Northeastern on Sunday.
Brian Randle led the Illini in scoring with 14 points and Shaun Pruitt scored 12 and grabbed 17 rebounds to help the team win its ninth season opener.
Illinois’ other returning starter, Chester Frazier, had two points, three rebounds and five assists.
Northeastern built an early 9-4 lead before Illinois could settle into the Panthers< zone defense.
Back-to-back dunks from Rodney Alexander, a Calvin Brock steal and a Demetri McCamey lay-up put Illinois up 17-12 with 9:38 to play in the first half.
Both teams traded baskets to end the half, but Steve Holdren
The Illini had 10 first-half turnovers, while shooting 29.4 percent from the field on 10-of-34 shooting. The Huskies shot 8-of-23 from the field—good for 34.8 percent—in the first half, but were 0-of-4 from the three-point line.
Even though the Illini out-rebounded the Huskies 25-14 in the first half, they were just 0-of-2 from the free throw line.
Chaisson Allen led the Huskies with 11 points and Nkem Ojougboh had 10 points and 13 rebounds.