Dec. 29, 2007
Champaign, Ill. - The Illinois defense held Loyola to just five first-half field goals and 20 percent shooting for the game and Shaun Pruitt collected a double-double with 16 points and 11 rebounds as the Fighting Illini recorded a 77-43 non-conference victory Friday night at Assembly Hall.
The Greyhounds grabbed a 5-0 lead two minutes into the contest before Illinois (8-4) rattled off the game's next 12 points for a 12-5 lead with 12:29 remaining in the first half. After a jumper from Loyola senior guard Gerald Brown ended the string, the Fighting Illini went on a 12-1 run for a 24-8 lead with nine minutes left before intermission. The lone highlight for the Greyhounds (5-7) came at the 7:38 mark when Brown connected on a three-pointer from the right baseline for the 1,000th point of his career. The Baltimore native led all scorers at halftime with 10 points as Illinois held a 31-18 advantage.
Illinois opened the second half scoring 16 of the first 18 points to possess a 47-20 lead on a follow-up dunk from Brian Randle with 14 minutes remaining. The Fighting Illini would push the advantage to as many as 37 with 2:32 left as Illinois shot 51.6 percent (16-31) after the intermission.
"I would like to say what an honor for our program it was to experience a game here in Champaign and Assembly Hall." fourth-year head coach Jimmy Patsos said following the contest. "There defense was really good and I thought Chester Frazier did a really good job on Gerald Brown. At our level, when you take the best player on the team out of the game, you are really in trouble and we had a difficult time with that tonight."
Randle led all scorers with 17 points, adding eight rebounds. Brown was the only Loyola player in double figures with 16 as the Greyhounds suffered their lowest scoring output since dropping a 56-35 home decision to Fairfield on February 3, 2005. Loyola also remained winless on the road, dropping its sixth straight road contest to open the season.
The Greyhounds return to conference play in seven days when they host the Stags at Reitz Arena in a game being televised nationally on ESPNU. Game time is 7 o'clock.