Illinois Struggles to 105-79 Win Over Longwood

Monday night's game against Longwood was supposed to be a laugher for the Fighting Illini, but that was not the case. Longwood stayed in the game until mid way through the second half and forced the Illini to sweat out a victory that was much closer than they expected. Deron Williams led Illinois with 23 points on their way to a 105-79 victory.

All the talk before Illinois' game with Longwood was how quickly Illinois' starters would be sitting on the bench watching the reserves get valuable playing time. Once the game started that question was answered with "much longer than Bruce Weber wants them to be." Illinois was only up 56-43 heading into half time, and Illinois' three starting guards each played at least 28 minutes on Monday night.

The Lancers were down by only eight with 9:13 to go in the game before Illinois finally decided that it should close out the game. From that point on, Illinois started a 16-0 run and finally closed out Longwood with a 105-79 victory. This marked the first time Illinois has scored 100 points in a game since 2001, also in the Las Vegas Classic against a Georgia Tech team that featured freshmen BJ Elder and Luke Schenscher.

Illinois was led by Deron Williams' 23 points on 7-15 shooting with 7 assists and 5 turnovers. Luther Head contributed 20 points with three assists and two turnovers while Dee Brown only scored 8 points, but he had 13 assists on the evening. On the inside, Illinois leaned on James Augustine for 16 points and 9 rebounds while Roger Powell added 13 points and 3 rebounds.

This was Illinois' most impressive offensive display of the season based on total points, while it was arguably Illinois' worst effort of the season on defense because of the team they were playing.

Offensive Efficiency: 127.30
Defensive Efficiency: 95.78
Points per Shot Attempt (Illinois): 1.35
Points per Shot Attempt (Longwood): 1.32

Surprisingly, Illinois' numbers on Monday night were not too far off of their season averages, but that could be why people were thinking Illinois played a poor game. The Illini were supposed to wipe the floor with Longwood, but they did not do that until a second half run. If this run were to have come at the ten minute mark of the first half, no one would have complained about the game, but when it comes at the ten minute mark in the second half people get worried and complain.

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