Dec 16, 2012; Champaign, IL, USA; Illinois Fighting Illini head coach John Groce talks to guard Tracy Abrams (13) and center Nnanna Egwu (32) and guard D.J. Richardson (1) and forward Tyler Griffey (42) and guard Brandon Paul (3) during the second half against the Eastern Kentucky Colonels at Assembly Hall. Illinois defeated Eastern Kentucky 66-53. Mandatory Credit: Bradley Leeb-USA TODAY Sports

Illinois Men’s Basketball: Illini Use Late Surge to Blow Past Eastern Kentucky, 66-53

The No. 10 Illinois Fighting Illini defeated the Eastern Kentucky Colonels, 66-53.

Illinois has won twelve straight games to start the season and have helped head coach John Groce become only the second coach in Illinois history to win his first 12 games (matched Fletcher Lane’s 1907 start).

Illinois only led by five at the half and needed a 12-2 run to help solidify the win on Sunday night.

The Fighting Illini were led by guards Brandon Paul and Tracy Abrams. Paul went 6-of-14 from the field, scored 17 points, and had nine rebounds. Abrams had 13 points, five rebounds, and three steals.

Illinois also received nice bench play from junior guard Joseph Bertrand. He played 19 minutes off the bench and went 4-of-5 from the field, scored 11 points, and recorded seven rebounds.

Overall, Illinois played very well as they held the Colonels to 36-percent shooting overall and out-rebounded them 42-23. However, there were some kinks as the Illini were 6 of 23 from the 3-point line with 20 turnovers.

Eastern Kentucky had two players reach double-digits. Their leading scorers were sophomore guard Corey Walden and junior guard Glenn Closey. Walden led the team off the bench with 21 point in the game. Cosey scored 11 points and was the only starter to reach double-digits.

The Fighting Illini are now 12-0 on the season.

Illinois will play their next game against the #12 Missouri Tigers on December 22nd. Missouri defeated Tennessee State 68-38 in their last game, but play South Carolina State on December 17th. The Tigers are 8-1 this season.

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Tags: Basketball Brandon Paul Eastern Kentucky Colonels Illinois Fighting Illini Tracy Abrams

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