Delaware State 67

(0-1, 0-1 away)

(5) Illinois 87

(1-0, 1-0 home)

    8:00 PM ET, November 19, 2004

    State Farm Center, Champaign, Illinois

    1 2 T
    DSU 37 3067
    #5ILL 50 3787

    Top Performers

    Delaware State: B. Davis 15 Pts, 1 Reb, 1 Ast

    Illinois: J. Augustine 15 Pts, 7 Reb, 2 Ast, 2 Blk

    Brown's 17 points lead Illinois

    CHAMPAIGN, Ill. (AP) -- After three weeks of slogging through three-hour practices, Dee Brown finally could play in a game that counted.

    "The games are everything. I love playing basketball," Brown said after scoring 17 points to lead Illinois (No. 5 ESPN/USA Today; No. 6 AP) to a season-opening 87-67 win over Delaware State on Friday night.

    Brown hit 5-of-6 shots from the field -- 4-of-5 from 3-point range -- and was 3-for-3 from the free-throw line. His first miss came on his last shot, with 3:53 to go.

    Brown scored five straight points to key an 11-0 first-half run that turned a 5-point deficit into a 6-point lead, and then had a 6-point outburst that ended a Delaware State rally early in the second half.

    "He is a gamer. He loves the lights," said Illinois coach Bruce Weber. "The last week to 10 days, Dee has played much better in practice. He has really stepped it up."

    Trailing by 13 points at the half, the Hornets got within 55-46 with 15:43 to go. But a basket and free throw from Brown, followed by his 3-point shot 26 seconds later put Illinois up 61-46.

    The Illini then held Delaware State (0-1) scoreless for the next 6:05, but weren't happy with their defensive effort against the small but quick Hornets.

    "They made us go to sleep a little bit. They just exploited by penetrating," said Luther Head, who finished with 15 points and five assists. "Tonight, we had a bad defensive game, but it was hard when the other team has five guys on the floor who can penetrate."

    Weber said it took his players some time to begin respecting Delaware State's quickness.

    "We've been harping on defense. Our guard defense has to get better," he said. "This (game) did us some good."

    Delaware State, with three sophomores and nobody taller than 6-foot-7 in the starting lineup, hit four of its first five shots and dropped its first four 3-pointers to take a 28-23 lead with 8:38 left in the first half.

    "These kids came out and put forth a great effort, but you can only play on emotion for so long until talent takes over," said Hornets coach Greg Jackson. "The difference in this ballgame was talent."

    The Illini relied on the 3-point range of Head and Brown to keep pace early before a layup from James Augustine and a dunk from Roger Powell closed the gap to 28-27 and ignited a 15-2 run that included five straight points from Brown to put Illinois up 32-28.

    Augustine scored 15 points and grabbed seven rebounds for the Illini. Deron Williams scored 12 points and had six assists.

    The Hornets got 17 points from Jahsha Bluntt and 15 from reserve Bruce Davis, who was 4-of-5 from 3-point range.

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press


    Team Stat Comparison

    Points 67 87
    FG Made-Attempted 24-42 (.571) 35-55 (.636)
    3P Made-Attempted 10-19 (.526) 12-22 (.545)
    FT Made-Attempted 9-11 (.818) 5-7 (.714)
    Fouls (Tech/Flagrant) 13 (0/0) 10 (0/0)
    Largest Lead 5 22

    2004-05 Season

    » Nov 19, 2004 @ILL 87, DSU 67Recap