In East regional play today 10th seeded Colorado (21-11) met with 7th seeded Illinois (22-12). This is Colorado’s second time in the NCAA Tournament in as many years, a first since the 1962-63 years. Coach Tad Boyle is in his second year and he wants to make Colorado a perennial top-25 team and his players have bought in to that, averaging 23 game winning seasons the past two years. Illinois on the other hand, has been here 11 times since 2000. After starting their conference play at 2-7, they finished at 8-10 but lost their last 3 of 4 games. In the first half Illinois was led by D.J. Richardson with 11 points and 3 rebounds. They shot 43 percent while Colorado only shot 35 percent. Illinois led 37-21 at the half.
Colorado came out in the second half on fire, cutting Illinois’ lead to 3 with the score being 39-36 at the 15:24 mark. Colorado’s, Little recruited guard, Askia Booker hit three 3 pointers to start the half. At the 10:41 mark, Colorado’s Josh Scott hit a 10 foot jumper to go ahead 40-39. At that point Colorado had outscored Illinois 19-2. But Illinois didn’t lose their confidence and battled back to win, 57-49. Illinois had a balanced team performance with Brandon Paul leading all scorers with 17 points. Illinois will move on to meet Miami, Sunday at Frank Erwin Special Events Center in Austin, Tx.