Dec 11, 2012; Champaign, IL, USA; Illinois Fighting Illini head coach John Groce during the first half against the Norfolk State Spartans at Assembly Hall. Mandatory Credit: Bradley Leeb-USA TODAY Sports

Illinois Men’s Basketball: John Groce Makes History in Win Over Norfolk State, 64-54


The No. 10 Illinois Fighting Illini defeated the Norfolk State Spartans, 64-54.

Illinois has won eleven straight games which is their seventh-best start in team history. It is also the Illini’s best start since 2005-2006 where they started 15-0.

The Fighting Illini were led by senior guards Brandon Paul and D.J. Richardson. Paul led all scorers with 14 points. He only went 3-of-10 (all 3-pointers) from the field, but made 5-of-8 free throws. Paul also recorded eight rebounds.

Dec 11, 2012; Champaign, IL, USA; Illinois Fighting Illini guard Joseph Bertrand (2) and guard Tracy Abrams (13) and forward Sam McLaurin (0) and guard D.J. Richardson (1) watch a free throw by guard Brandon Paul (not pictured) during the second half against the Norfolk State Spartans at Assembly Hall. Illinois defeated Norfolk State 64-54. Mandatory Credit: Bradley Leeb-USA TODAY Sports

Richardson left the game near the end of the first half with a shoulder injury, but did return to the game. He went 4-of-7 from the field, scored 11 points, and recorded three rebounds. Richardson made a layup with just under two minutes left in the game that put the Illini up 56-51.

Illinois did not shoot the ball well overall in the game. They were shooting 46 percent coming into Tuesday’s game, but only shot 35 percent against the Spartans. The Illini also shot 26 percent from beyond the arc.

Norfolk State had two players reach double-digits. Their leading scorers were junior guard Pendarvis Williams and freshman forward Rashid Gaston. Williams finished with 11 points while Gaston scored 12 points off the bench. Gaston also led the Spartans with eight rebounds in the game.

The Fighting Illini are now 11-0 on the season. With this win, head coach John Groce became the first Illinois coach to start their first season 11-0 in over 100 years.

Illinois will play their next game against the Eastern Kentucky Colonels on December 16th. Eastern Kentucky defeated Chattanooga 63-52 in their last game. The Colonels are 9-0 this season.

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Tags: Basketball Brandon Paul Illinois Fighting Illini John Groce Norfolk State Spartans