User ID
  Forgot User ID
or Register Today!
Follow Us on Facebook Follow Us on Twitter Follow Us on Google+ VI Mobile Scores and Betting Odds
Betting Tools

Illinois beats Butler for Maui Classic

New customers: Make your 1st bet, get your 2nd bet free, 100%, winnings paid in cash.
Join Now

Already have an account? Click here to view new Exclusive Rewards!

LAHAINA, Hawaii (AP) - The Illinois caught a huge wave of scoring in Hawaii and rode it all the way to the Maui Invitational title.

Now, the Illini are hoping to carry that success to bigger tournaments that start in March.

``We are excited - we are not done,'' Illinois coach John Groce said Wednesday night after Illinois beat Butler 78-61 to top an eight-team field that included No. 9 North Carolina and Marquette.

``It is an extremely great start for our basketball team, but we have to make sure we do not eat the poisonous pill of success,'' Groce said.

Brandon Paul scored 20 points to lead Illinois in the team's third straight double-digit win.

``We came out with the mindset that we wanted to prove ourselves, and I think we did that,'' Paul said. ``We're in no shape to just stop right here.''

The Illini (6-0) held off several attempts by Butler to string points together in the second half. Paul was one of four players in double figures, along with Tracy Abrams with 17 points and Tyler Griffey and D.J. Richardson with 14 each.

Illinois shot 48 percent as Butler (3-2) relied almost exclusively on point guard Rotnei Clarke to score. Clarke had 27 points and took nearly one-third his team's shots.

Butler coach Brad Stevens said he feels Illinois is better than people think, and Paul is a top-notch professional prospect.

``Anyone who thinks that's a middle-of-the-pack Big Ten team, I would argue with them,'' Stevens said.

After the buzzer, the Illini players went to center court to get gray championship T-shirts and kukui nut leis. Paul got a special lei as tournament MVP and held up a basketball-shaped trophy as a contingent of Illinois fans cheered.

Illinois won by outshooting Butler in the first half and countering each Bulldog run in the second.

After the Bulldogs pulled within five points with 12:26 left, the Illini went on a 10-point run highlighted by back-to-back 3-pointers from Griffey. He hit one from the right side, and after Kellen Dunham missed a 3 on the other end, Griffey took a pass and fired successfully from near the top of the key.

While Clarke scored 16 points in the first half for Butler, his teammates made only four baskets.

In the middle of a nine-point run, Paul gave Illinois a 12-point lead with a straightaway 3-pointer after Clarke missed on the other end. One basket later, the Illini led 37-22 with less than four minutes left in the half.

Illinois and Butler each reached the tournament's title game by winning games on consecutive days.

Butler opened the event with a buzzer-beating win over Marquette, 72-71, after Clarke launched a running 22-foot 3-pointer from the right side as time expired. The Bulldogs then outplayed North Carolina in the second round, halting several comeback attempts from the Tar Heels en route to an 11-point win.

Illinois easily won its first two games, beating USC by 30 and Division II Chaminade by 24. It never trailed in the tournament.

Groce said he felt honored to top the field.

``Our guys are humbled,'' he said.

Illinois and Butler had not played each other since 1971.


Oskar Garcia can be reached on Twitter at .

The Associated Press News Service

Copyright 2015
The Associated Press
All Rights Reserved

News: November Tourney Odds
Former Houston coach Lewis dies
Calipari to meet former assistant Antigua
Kansas' Diallo cleared to play Dec. 1
St. John's frosh Yakwe cleared to play
Why Buy Picks From
NCAA BK College Basketball Handicapper Sports Picks Records
NCAA BK Hot Streaks
3-0 L3 G-Plays, 8-1 CBK Streak
6-1 L7 G-Plays, 12-5 L17 Picks
4-1 Yesterday, 6-1 L7 Guarantees
4-0 G-Plays, 8-1 Last 9 Run
5 NCAA BK Wins in a Row
5-1 Last 6 Guaranteed Plays
4-0 Start This Season
10-6 Record Last 16 Picks
5-1 Last 6 Selections
39-23 L62 College Picks
7-2 Last 9 CBK Guarantees Gold Membership
Money Leaders
Handicapper Money
John Fisher + 580
Jim Feist + 560
Dave Cokin + 553
Last 7 Day Leaders
Handicapper Money
Antony Dinero + 1041
Jim Feist + 590
Zack Cimini + 395
Percentage Leaders
Handicapper Pct
Brian Edwards 100 %
ASA 100 %
Joe Nelson 83 %
Guaranteed Leaders
Handicapper Money
Dave Cokin + 488
Jim Feist + 400
Joe Nelson + 390
Over-Under Leaders
Handicapper Money
Antony Dinero + 1118
Doc's Sports + 200
Joe Williams + 190
Member Leaders
Handicapper Money
Jimmy Boyd + 195
Joe Williams + 180
Kevin Rogers + 130
corner graphic
With a VI Gold Membership, you can SAVE 10% off a Live Odds subscription, SAVE 20% off Daily Pick packages, and receive access to up to 1,000 Member Plays each month!
VI Gold Membership