CHAMPAIGN, Ill. (AP) -Freshman D. J. Richardson scored 17 points to lead Illinois to a 59-42 Big Ten win over struggling Iowa Tuesday night.
Richardson started the game on the bench for the first time in his college career. But he entered the game early for Illinois (10-5, 2-0) and hit five 3-pointers. He was 6-for-11 from the floor.
The Illini went on a 20-1 run early in the first half to open up a 22-4 lead that Iowa (5-10, 0-3) couldn't overcome.
On Saturday, Illinois trailed by as many as 21 points in the first half against Gonzaga after a sluggish start that has become their signature this season.
Afterward, Weber said he'd bench two or even three of his regular starters against Iowa, looking for an early-game spark and the sort of defense his team struggles to play.
But with Bill Cole and Jeff Jordan starting for Richardson and Demetri McCamey, Illinois couldn't find the basket early. The Illini made just one of their first seven shots.
But Iowa was worse. Much worse.
The Hawkeyes were 1-for-11 in the game's first 11 minutes, and they didn't get second chances off many of their misses, with just two offensive rebounds in the first half.
When Richardson and McCamey walked onto the floor, Illinois found its touch. The Illini went on a 20-1 run that included three Richardson three-pointers and gave them a 22-4 lead with 9:32 to play in the half.
Iowa's only point during that nearly 9-minute stretch came on a free throw by Aaron Fuller.
``Aaron, make it!' shouted Iowa coach Todd Lickliter, desperate for any offense.
After trailing 37-15 at the half, Iowa scored nine of the second half's first 11 points and closed the gap to 39-24 on a pair of free throws by Cole with just over 14 minutes to play.
But the Hawkeyes went cold, allowing Illinois to pull away to a 53-31 lead with just over seven minutes to play on one of Richardson's 3s.
For the game Iowa shot 30.6 percent - 15-for-49. Illinois held a 38-29 rebounding edge over the Hawkeyes, whose tallest starter is 6-foot-7 Jarryd Cole.
McCamey finished the night with nine points and led the Illini with seven assists.
The start was the first for Jordan, a junior and the son of NBA legend Michael Jordan.
Eric May led the Hawkeyes with nine points.
Illinois moved into a tie atop the conference with Purdue and Wisconsin. Iowa is last in the Big Ten.
The Associated Press News Service
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