2001 NCAA Men's Tourney

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NCAA Basketball Scoreboard: Recap
Recap | Box Score | Today's Scoreboard
Illinois 79, Charlotte 61
Posted: Sunday March 18, 2001 08:07 PM
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DAYTON, Ohio (Ticker) -- Illinois showed its depth from long range, and as a team.

The top-seeded Fighting Illini drained 10 3-pointers and advanced to the "Sweet 16" of the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 1989 with a 79-61 win over Charlotte in the Midwest Region at the University of Dayton Arena.

Illinois (26-7) built a 42-27 lead at the half and led by as many as 24 to earn a date with Kansas in the Midwest Region semifinals on Friday in San Antonio.

Brian Cook went 7-of-13 from the field and had 16 points and eight rebounds for Illinois. Eight Illini scored at least six points to complete the balanced attack.

Demon Brown led Charlotte (22-11) with 16 points and Jobey Thomas added 14. The 49ers, who reached the second round for the fourth straight year, had their six-game winning streak stopped.

Helped by 3-pointers from Cook and Sergio McClain, the Illini jumped to a 12-3 lead over the first 4:43 of the game. They moved to a 30-18 advantage with 6:39 left as Frank Williams capped an 11-0 run by making 1-of-2 free throws.

Damir Krupalija sank three free throws as part of an 8-0 run as Illinois took its largest lead of the first half, 41-23, with 1:31 to play.

Cook scored 12 points as the Illini drained six 3-pointers in the first half and shot 48 percent (13-of-27) to build a 15-point advantage. Illinois limited the 49ers to 32 percent (11-of-34) shooting over the first 20 minutes.

Illinois padded its lead to 54-32 by opening the second half on a 12-5 run, including 3-pointers by Cory Bradford and McClain. The Illini took their largest lead at 71-46 on a jumper by Bradford with 6:10 to play and never let Charlotte get any closer than the final margin.

Williams contributed 11 points and 10 rebounds and Bradford added 10 points for the Illini, who shot 49 percent (28-of-57), including 10-of-27 from behind the arc.

Illinois has won by an average of 30 points over the first two rounds as it looks to reach the Final Four for the first time since losing to Michigan in the national semifinals in 1989.

Charlotte struggled from the field, hitting just 34 percent (22-of-64) of its shots, including 6-of-30 from 3-point range. The Conference USA champion has not reached the "Sweet 16" since making the Final Four in 1977.


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