WASHINGTON (AP) -- In Illinois' busy first week at No. 1, the
team has practiced just once. During that practice, coach Bruce
Weber told his sharp-shooting guards they couldn't take any
3-pointers, forcing them to work the ball inside.
What a timely practice. The 3s weren't falling for a change
Thursday night, so the Fighting Illini relied mostly on forwards
Roger Powell and James Augustine to rally for a 74-59 victory over
"If the 3s are going, we're playing at home, that's great,"
Weber said. "But today they weren't going. We had to chill out.
And I think we did a good job of that, at least enough to get a big
Powell exploited Georgetown's interior defense for 19 points on
8-for-11 shooting. Augustine added 15 points and six rebounds.
Guards Luther Head, Deron Williams and Dee Brown were a combined
10-for-25, but each had at least five assists to help overcome the
team's season-low five 3-pointers in 15 attempts.
Illinois finished with 20 assists, just short of its 22.3
"The way they played us, it really kind of bit them in the back
because we got layups and stuff," Powell said. "That's a key to
our team. We have guys who can score outside, guys who can score
inside, a whole bunch of different weapons. And when someone's not
on, we've got to step up and make some baskets."
The victory put Illinois (8-0) two-thirds of the way to holding
a No. 1 ranking for consecutive weeks for the first time in school
history. The Illini lost their first game the previous two times
they gained the top spot. This time, they've held their own with a
78-59 win over Chicago State on Monday and Thursday's win over
Georgetown, with a game against Oregon in Chicago on Saturday still
Freshman Jeff Green had 20 points and six rebounds to lead
Georgetown (3-2), which had won three straight after an opening
loss to Temple.
The Illini trailed for 11:20 of the first half, longer than they
had in their first seven games combined (10:12). Entering the game
shooting 52 percent from the field for the season, they missed nine
of their first 13 shots before dedicating themselves to working the
Ashanti Cook, freshmen Roy Hibbert and Green helped Georgetown
post a small lead that never got bigger than five because of the
team's 10 first-half turnovers. A pivotal moment was Green's second
foul just eight minutes into the game, sending him to the bench for
the rest of the half.
The Hoyas were up 22-17 when Brown's steal and layup started a
14-2 half-ending run. Powell scored seven points in the run,
including a three-point play and two layups, to put Illinois ahead
31-24 at the break.
A pair of 3-pointers by Head early in the second half put the
Illini firmly in control. Illinois shot 65 percent in the second
half and led by as many as 20, and the Hoyas never threatened
Georgetown, in a rebuilding year under new coach John Thompson
III, was trying to beat a No. 1 team for the first time since
Patrick Ewing led an 85-69 victory over Chris Mullen and St. John's
Asked if he took any solace in leading the nation's top team for
10 minutes, Thompson said: "That's great, but the game's longer
than 10 minutes. Our team is young, our team needs to get better,
but we're not taking any moral victories."