Illinois Holds off Illinois State in Overtime

In the final tune up before conference play begins for Illinois, the Fighting Illini needed overtime to defeat the visiting Illinois State Redbirds on Saturday afternoon. Illinois used great free throw shooting and a great effort from returning Deron Williams to defeat Illinois State 80-73 in Champaign. <br><br> Illinois was led in scoring by Deron Williams with 20 points. James Augustine led the Illini with 8 rebounds.

Illinois needed an extra period to put an end to Illinois State's bid to defeat the Illini for the first time ever and end Illinois' non-conference home winning streak at 30. Thanks to the play of Deron Williams, in his first game back after suffering a broken jaw against Maryland Eastern Shore, and Nick Smith Illinois was able to put away the visiting Redbirds 80-73.

Illinois trailed Illinois State most of the game until Nick Smith started the Fighting Illini comeback with a thunderous dunk with 7:33 left in the second half. After Nick's dunk, Illinois outscored Illinois State 19-10 thanks to Deron Williams' ten points and Nick Smith's game tying free throws at the end of the regulation.

In the overtime period, Illinois used great free throw shooting and closed out the game from the line by hitting seven of nine from the charity stripe completing Illinois' 22nd straight victory within friendly confines of Assembly Hall.

Despite playing with his jaw wired shut, Illinois sophomore point guard Deron Williams led Illinois with 20 points on 7 of 15 shooting. Three other Illinois players finished the game in double figures as Dee Brown added 16, Luther Head had 15 and Nick Smith had 14.

Illinois State was hot nearly all game from inside and outside as they shot 54.5% from the floor and 43.8% from behind the arc on Saturday afternoon. The Redbirds were led by Marcus Arnold's 23 points on the inside and Trey Guidrey's 14 points from outside as he connected on four of his seven attempts from behind the three point line.

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