Illinois stops No. 24 Vanderbilt, 79-68

CHAMPAIGN, ILL— Demetri McCamey scored 23 points and D.J. Richardson added 16 as Illinois handled Vanderbilt, 79-68. The Illini stormed out to an early 9-0 lead and led by at least seven the rest of the game as Vanderbilt dropped their first game after making it back into the top 25.

A Brad Tinsley layup after a steal cut the lead to 18-13 with 13 minutes remaining in first half but Mike Tisdale's jumper put the Illini back up by nine at 22-13 with 11:15 remaining in the half. A layup by D.J. Richardson expanded the Illinois lead to 31-18 with 7:30 left. An Andre Walker bucket in pulled the Commodores back to within eight at 44-36 with 40 seconds to go but a jump shot by Jeff Jordan gave the Illini a 46-36 lead at the half.

In the second half Vanderbilt's defense improved but the Commodores could never cut the Illini lead to less than seven. A Walker jumper cut the host's lead to seven at 49-42 with 17:30 left in game. However, Illinois answered with an 11-2 run to build a 60-44 lead with 11 minutes remaining in the game. The Commodores did not go down easy though. After consecutive threes by freshman John Jenkins, the Vanderbilt cut the Illini lead to 66-58 with 5:30 to play. That would be the closest Vandy would get in the final minutes as Illinois hit their free throws down the stretch to preserve their victory.

Jeffery Taylor and Tinsley both led Vanderbilt in scoring with 12. Jenkins and Jermaine Beal each added 11. Illinois out rebounded the Commodores 32-27 and limited the visitors to just 42 percent from the field while making almost 60 percent of their own field goals including 8-of-15 from 3-point range. Vanderbilt made 10-of-16 from beyond that arc.

Vanderbilt falls to 6-2 with the loss. The Commodores will face Western Kentucky at the Sommet Center on Friday. Illinois improves to 7-2 and will next host Western Michigan on Sunday.

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