Nov. 23, 2001
LAS VEGAS (AP) – Illinois didn’t need a second-half rally this time.
The No. 2 Illini, which trailed by double-figures at halftime in its win against Penn on Thursday, shot 63 percent in the first half and led by 33 at the half on its way to a 105-66 win over Georgia Tech in the Las Vegas Invitational on Friday night.
The Illini (4-0) will play Southern Illinois, which beat Hartford 78-45 earlier in the day, in Saturday night’s championship game. Georgia Tech (2-2) will face Saint Louis in the fifth place game on Saturday at 2:30 p.m. PT.
“Everybody looks good when you make shots,” Illinois coach Bill Self said. “It’s the best we’ve shared the ball. Offensively, it’s the best we’ve looked for a 20 minute period since I’ve been here.”
Robert Archibald scored 16 point points to lead five players in double-figures. Cory Bradford had 15 points for Illinois, while teammates Brian Cook scored 14 and Sean Harrington and reserve Damir Krupalija each added 12. Krupalija also had nine rebounds as the Illini outrebounded the Yellow Jackets 44-38.
Frank Williams, who leads the Illini with 15.3 points per game, didn’t make a field goal and finished with only six points.
“Sure he didn’t make shots, but he made sure their press didn’t work,” Self said. “He pushed the ball up the court and found the open shooters.”
“You better come with a flawless game if you’re going to hang with this team,” Georgia Tech coach Paul Hewett said. “They have a great point guard, good shooters and a strong inside game.”
Illinois, which struggled in the first half of Thursday’s tournament game against Penn, came out strong in the beginning against the Yellow Jackets.
With the score tied at 6, the Illini went on a 29-7 run to take a 35-13 lead with 9:22 left.
It was the Illini big men, who struggled against Penn, who did most of the damage in the run. Archibald scored 7 points and Cook and Krupalija each had 6. Illinois, which led 67-43 at the half, outscored Georgia Tech 28-14 in the paint for the half.
Illinois also had outstanding production from 3-point range in the half, making 10 of 18. Bradford and Harrington each had four 3-pointers in the first.
Georgia Tech shot just 37.5 percent on 12-of-32 shooting in the first half.