Black Scores Career-High As Illini Win


Published on November 13 2017 6:42 am
Last Updated on November 13 2017 6:42 am
Written by Millie Lange

CHAMPAIGN (AP) -- Leron Black scored a career-high 23 points and snatched eight rebounds Sunday, helping Illinois avoid an early season upset to UT Martin for a 77-74 victory.

Down by three with under a minute to go, the Skyhawks had two chances to tie the game but ultimately came up short.

The Illini led by as much as 19, but the Skyhawks - led by Delfincko Bogan's 23 points and four rebounds - wouldn't go away easily.

Trailing 38-51, UT Martin went on an 11-0 run at the 15:30 mark of the second half, capped off by a lucky bankshot 3-pointer from Matthew Butler that cut the lead to four.

Illinois pushed the margin back up to 15 with 4:34 left, but UT Martin responded once again with a late-game 18-6 run. With 0.7 second left, Butler took a potential game-tying 3-pointer at the buzzer but airballed.

The Illini started off much slower than in their season opener, missing seven of their first 10 shots. But Black found a rhythm early.

He nailed the first basket of the game on a turnaround jumper from the free throw line, and finished the first half with 13 points on 5-6 shooting.

Freshman Mark Smith was Illinois' second leading scorer with 13 points.

The Illini are off to a 2-0 start and host DePaul Friday at 7:30 p.m.