Oakland 54

(0-2, 0-2 away)

(5) Illinois 85

(3-0, 3-0 home)

    8:00 PM ET, November 24, 2004

    State Farm Center, Champaign, Illinois

    1 2 T
    OAK 28 2654
    #5ILL 47 3885

    Top Performers

    Oakland: C. Scott 11 Pts, 6 Reb, 2 Ast, 5 Stl

    Illinois: L. Head 22 Pts, 9 Ast, 2 Stl

    Brown scores just six points

    CHAMPAIGN, Ill. (AP) -- Luther Head took over for Illinois almost as soon as the game started.

    Head scored seven points before the game was three minutes old and finished with 22 to lead the Illini (No. 4 ESPN/USA Today, No. 5 AP) to an 85-54 win over Oakland on Wednesday night.

    "The shots were good. My teammates found me," he said. "I just had the confidence to knock the shots down."

    He hit a short jumper to open the scoring. After Oakland tied it, he hit a 3-pointer from the right wing, stole a pass and sprinted the length of the court for a layup and a 7-2 lead.

    Later, Head had a 3-pointer during an 11-0 run that gave Illinois (3-0) a 25-9 lead midway through the half, and he dropped two more to finish off an 11-3 run to build the Illini lead to 47-24.

    Head finished with a career-high six 3-pointers, and also had nine assists and two steals.

    "I thought Luther gave us a spark early, defensively and on the offensive end," said Illini coach Bruce Weber, who admitted to being a bit worried about an upset before the game. A snowstorm was raging outside and the crowd was diminished by the weather and holiday break at school, leaving Weber concerned his players might be thinking about other things.

    But Weber need not have worried.

    "For a single night, that's the best team I've ever seen," Oakland coach Dave Kampehe said. "They pass the ball so well. They're so unselfish. Their guard play is so good, defensively they get after you. I don't see a weakness."

    Deron Williams scored 17 points and also had nine assists for Illinois. Roger Powell Jr. added 10 points, James Augustine had 11 rebounds and blocked four shots and Warren Carter came off the bench to hit four consecutive shots for eight points.

    Dee Brown, who led Illinois in scoring in its first two games, was held to just six points.

    "Just very unselfish," Weber said. "The biggest thing is one day it's Dee, the next day it's Luther, and when it's not their day they're still doing stuff."

    But Weber said there still are problems his team needs to quickly clean up. The Illini face 24th-ranked Gonzaga on Saturday in Indianapolis and then meet No. 1 Wake Forest in the Big Ten-ACC Challenge next Wednesday in Champaign.

    "I think we're still a little sloppy with the basketball," Weber said. "I want them to take care of the ball. It's our guys that we think are pretty good passers who are turning the ball over."

    Oakland's zone defense gave the Illini some problems inside. The Golden Grizzlies (0-2) forced 16 turnovers and had 12 steals.

    But Illinois' accuracy meant it could simply shoot over Oakland's zone. The Illini were 12-of-24 from 3-point range as a team and wound up shooting 56 percent from the field.

    "There were some possessions where everyone touched (the ball) and it never hit the ground," Weber said.

    Oakland, a member of the Mid-Continent Conference, played three freshmen at times during the game. Despite the lopsided score, Kampe was happy with the performance.

    "I thought we played a pretty darn good second half," he said. "I thought we took a step forward as a team for what level we have to play" in the conference.

    Rawle Marshall, Kris Krzyminski and Cortney Scott each scored 11 points and David Carson added 10 for the Grizzlies. Scott added five steals.

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press


    Team Stat Comparison

    Points 54 85
    FG Made-Attempted 22-63 (.349) 31-55 (.564)
    3P Made-Attempted 3-12 (.250) 12-24 (.500)
    FT Made-Attempted 7-13 (.538) 11-14 (.786)
    Fouls (Tech/Flagrant) 14 (0/0) 11 (0/0)
    Largest Lead 0 31

    2004-05 Season

    » Nov 24, 2004 @ILL 85, OAK 54Recap