COLUMBUS, Ohio (Ticker) -- Cincinnati may think Deron Williams is pretty. He looked pretty good for Illinois.
Williams scored 17 of his career-high 31 points in the first half as the fifth-seeded Fighting Illini handed No. 4 Cincinnati a 92-68 beating in the second round of the Atlanta Region.
Cincinnati (25-7) taunted Illinois throughout the warmups, throwing out a variety of insults. One remark was directed at Willians.
"They told Deron he was too pretty to play basketball," Illinois point guard Dee Brown said. "They was talking. That was fun - funniest. That team out there, they try to beat you before the ball even comes up."
Instead, Cincinnati was beaten in thorough fashion. Williams made all six shots before halftime, including five 3-pointers, as Illinois led by as many as 24 points and took a 49-33 lead at the break.
The Bearcats never got closer than 12 points in the second half.
"One statement was, 'you're going to help me get my ticket for Atlanta," Williams said.
Instead, the Illini head to Atlanta to take on top-seeded Duke on Friday. Illinois (26-6) has won 14 out of its last 15 games and owns an average victory margin of 21.5 points in the NCAA Tournament.
"There's really not much you can say," Illinois coach Bruce Weber said. "Just, we played at another level. We talked about playing at the magic level - we had some guys that were magic tonight."
"We tried playing matchup, we tried playing zone, we tried bumping with the zone," Cincinnati coach Bob Huggins said. "We're generally a fairly decent man-to-man team. They just, they made a lot of shots."
Roger Powell chipped in 22 points and Williams and Brown combined for 15 assists. Illinois took excellent care of the ball, finishing with 26 assists and four turnovers, and helping quiet the brash Bearcats, who were boasting before the game about how they would advance.
Williams' 3-pointer opened up a 20-10 at the 11:27 mark for Illinois' first double-digit lead. Brown's layup put the lead at 40-19 with five minutes to go.
Illinois shot a season-high 64 percent (35-of-55) and drilled 11-of-19 from the arc. The Illini also converted 13 turnovers into 24 points.
Cincinnati has not reached the "Sweet 16" since 2001.