Second-half surge lifts 11-0 Illini past Coppin State

CHAMPAIGN, Ill. (AP) -- Illinois' Bruce Weber wasn't as happy as the coach of an 11-0 team might be expected to be.

The Illini's sluggish offense in a 61-42 victory over Coppin State on Sunday night could have had something to do with it.

"If we don't get better, somewhere along the line it's going to catch up with us," Weber said after Illinois (No. 8 ESPN/USA Today, No. 9 AP) scored only 24 points in the first half and committed 16 turnovers. "You want the win but somewhere along the line it's got to click and we've got to get better."

James Augustine had 15 points and nine rebounds to lead Illinois, which broke the game open with an 18-4 run after Coppin State (0-8) had cut a 14-point deficit in half.

Augustine's three-point play started the run after the Eagles had closed within 29-22 with 15:17 to go. He had a layup and another three-point play as the Illini pushed their lead to 50-28 with 7:25 left.

"As the game went on, we got the ball inside," Augustine said. "We kicked it out, hit a couple 3s [and] hit a couple dunks. I think the biggest key was trying to get the ball inside and make a pass off the high post."

Coppin State coach Fang Mitchell said he knew his team couldn't keep up with Illinois in a fast-break game so he concentrated on slowing things down to limit Illini possessions.

"I think it was imperative to shorten the game," he said. "The problem was that when we had an opportunity in the first half to at least be close we shot 23 percent and went 1-for-8 at the foul line. ... It was just one of those nights that the ball didn't go in the basket."

Coppin's 42 points were a season low by an Illinois opponent and the fewest the Illini have allowed since an 80-37 defeat of Penn State on Jan. 21, 2004.

Illinois led 24-7 after Brown hit a 3-pointer with 5:41 to go in the first half, but the Illini failed to score for the rest of the half and the Eagles put together a 12-5 run that lasted 4:43 into the second half.

"We ran some zone plays, but you run them once and they adjust to it," Weber said. "So now it becomes up to the kids to recognize situations. Sometimes James won't flash when he needs to ... and then at other times our guards don't pass it to him when he's open."

But Augustine got free for a fast-break layup with 15:12 left and converted a free throw to start the decisive run, which also included 3-pointers from Rich McBride and Calvin Brock and a basket from Jamar Smith.

Smith scored 10 points and McBride had nine for the Illini, who play their annual "Braggin' Rights" rivalry game against Missouri on Wednesday. Dee Brown had eight points and seven assists.

Darryl Proctor scored 14 points and Tywain McKee added 13 for Coppin State, which has yet to play a home game.

Coppin State spent the first half wasting away the shot clock, waiting on nearly every possession until it wound down to 10 seconds. When they did go to the basket, the Eagles were woeful, missing 16-of-21 shots in the first half. They were only 4-of-13
from the free-throw line.

Illinois, which hadn't played since last Saturday's win over Oregon, put together a 13-0 run to take a 15-4 lead and Coppin never had the deficit closer than seven the rest of the way.