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Updated: Monday, November 25, 2002 12:00 AM EST
NCAA BASKETBALL RECAP
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(25) Illinois 90, Lehigh 56
LEHIGH MOUNTAIN HAWKS
Lehigh Mountain Hawks
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ILLINOIS FIGHTING ILLINI
Illinois Fighting Illini
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CHAMPAIGN, Illinois (Ticker) -- Two-time defending Big Ten Conference champion Illinois opened the season with a convincing 90-56 victory over Lehigh.

Roger Powell scored 25 points to lead five players in double figures for the 25th-ranked Fighting Illini. Kyle Wilson added 14.

Illinois was without senior forward Brian Cook and junior guard Jerrance Howard, who are serving two-game suspensions for participating in an unapproved summer tournament.

Freshman guard Dee Brown, a McDonald's All-American, started and had 14 points on 5-of-8 shooting in his college debut as Illinois showed no ill effects from losing all-Big Ten performers Frank Williams and Robert Archibald to the NBA.

Powell and James Augustine each had nine rebounds for Illinois, which opens the season with a four-game homestand.

Coming off Friday's 68-62 victory over Dartmouth, Lehigh got 18 points apiece from Matt Logie and Zlatko Savovic.

Lehigh led by as many as four points early, but the Illini never trailed after Brown hit a 3-pointer with 12:16 left in the first half to forge a 15-15 tie. The shot sparked a 32-9 run to close the half.

The Mountain Hawks actually shot better in the second half, clicking at 43.5 percent (10-for-23) after a 9-for-29 first half. But Illinois was 15-for-27 from the field in each half.

Lehigh and Billy Taylor, the youngest coach in Division I, were facing the Illini for the first time.

Illinois played its first game against a Patriot League foe, although it faced American, Army and Colgate before those schools joined the league, going 7-2.

Lehigh lost three starters from a team that went 5-23.


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