Scores

Final

(1) Illinois 74

(8-0, 2-0 away)

Georgetown 59

(3-2, 2-2 home)

7:30 PM ET, December 9, 2004

Verizon Center, Washington, District of Columbia

1 2 T
#1ILL 31 4374
GTWN 24 3559

Top Performers

Illinois: J. Augustine 15 Pts, 6 Reb, 2 Ast, 3 Stl

Georgetown: J. Green 20 Pts, 6 Reb, 1 Ast, 2 Stl, 3 Blk

Illini overcome sluggish start

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 Georgetown.

"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 lead."

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 average.

"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 to come.

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 ball inside.

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 again.

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 in 1985.

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."

Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press

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Team Stat Comparison

 
ILL
GTWN
Points 74 59
FG Made-Attempted 28-54 (.519) 24-54 (.444)
3P Made-Attempted 5-15 (.333) 6-19 (.316)
FT Made-Attempted 13-16 (.813) 5-7 (.714)
Fouls (Tech/Flagrant) 13 (0/0) 14 (0/0)
Largest Lead 20 5

2004-05 Season

DATEGAMELINKS
» Dec 9, 2004 ILL 74, @GTWN 59Recap