CHAMPAIGN, Ill. -- D.J. Richardson went into halftime Tuesday night with three points and his Illini looking for a way to get past Yale.
No. 19 Illinois found it.
Richardson scored 13 second-half points and Illinois played smothering defense, holding the Bulldogs to 27 percent shooting in a 73-47 win.
"The last few games we've played at home we've shot the ball so well," Illinois coach Bruce Weber said. "Today we didn't have that zone, that feeling. We found a way."
Illinois led 30-17 at the half, but needed Richardson's second-half shooting to put the Bulldogs away. Richardson was 6 for 8 from the field and 3 for 4 from the 3-point line.
Yale, coming off a 75-67 upset of Boston College last week, stayed close to Illinois for much of the night.
But the key to the Bulldogs win over B.C. was 11 for 17 3-point shooting, including 6 for 9 by Austin Morgan, who had 25 points against the Eagles.
Yale couldn't duplicate that effort on Tuesday.
The Bulldogs were 4 for 20 from the 3-point line.
Still, Yale closed within 40-31 with 15 minutes to play when Morgan hit a 3-pointer.
But the Illini quickly widened the gap over their next three possessions, turning a dunk by Mike Davis and a 3-pointer and a short jumper by D.J. Richardson to a 47-31 lead with 13:41 to play.
Yale got no closer.
The Illini shot 61 percent in the second half, and tightened their defense over the final 15 minutes. That included holding Yale to five points over a seven-minute span as Illinois stretched the lead to 22 points at 58-36.
"We were open for shots for a split-second, but they were able to recover," Yale coach James Jones said of Illinois' defense.
"When you guard at home," Weber said, "it gives you a chance to control games."
The Illini closed the first half with an 8-2 run -- keyed by Meyers Leonard's dunk with 51 seconds to play.
Both teams struggled in the first half. Illinois was 12 for 32 from the field. Yale was 6 for 25.
Illinois had a three-plus minute scoring drought late in the first half that summed up its struggles.
Jereme Richmond missed a 2-foot jumper with 5:51 to play in the half that left him, in spite of a 20-13 lead, shaking his head and talking to himself as he made his way back up court.
Things only got worse.
Richmond ended the misery with a short basket from inside the lane with 3:22 to play in the half, putting Illinois up 22-15.
While Illinois' offense was flat in the first half, at least part of the problem was Yale's defense. The Bulldogs, playing with no one taller than 6 feet 10, outmuscled the Illini -- whose roster includes two 7-footers in Tisdale and Leonard -- inside for much of the first 20 minutes.
Greg Mangano led Yale (1-3) with 14 points. Morgan added 12.