CHAMPAIGN, Ill. (AP) -- Freshman reserve Jamar Smith hit six
3-pointers and had 23 points Monday night to lift Illinois (No. 10 ESPN/USA Today, No. 11 AP)
to a 75-49 victory over Arkansas-Little Rock.
Smith was 8-of-10 from the field and had three assists and two
steals. He scored seven points and had an assist during a 20-0
second-half run that broke the game open.
Illinois (8-0) had just seen Arkansas-Little Rock (3-3) run off
seven straight points to cut its deficit to 41-39. After Dee Brown
hit a free throw and Brian Randle a layup, Smith got a pass from
Brown and hit a 3 that brought the crowd to its feet.
The next time down the floor, Smith sent an alley-oop pass that
Randle dunked to put the Illini up 49-39. He scored five more
points before leaving to a standing ovation with 1:48 left and
Illinois on its way to its 25th straight win at the Assembly Hall.
James Augustine scored 12 points for Illinois. Randle and Warren
Carter each added 11 points, and Brown had six points, 10 assists
and five rebounds.
Lekheythan Malone scored 12 of his 17 points in the first half
for Arkansas-Little Rock, but he spent much of the second half on
the bench in foul trouble. Elijah Muldrow scored 10 points for the
Trojans, a Sun Belt Conference team that was playing its second
straight Big Ten opponent after losing to No. 14 Michigan State
72-67 on Saturday.
The Illini used a 10-0 run to take a 14-6 lead and led 20-12
after Randle put in a rebound with 7:48 to go in the first half.
But the Trojans came back with a 9-3 run and closed within 27-26
with 2:22 to go on Muldrow's 3-pointer.
Illinois responded with a quick 3-pointer from Brown and pushed
the lead back to six points before Zack Wright drove the length of
the court in the final 3 seconds of the half to put in a layup at
the buzzer to make it 32-28.