Brandon Paul sank six three-pointers and ended with 18 points, as 13th-ranked Illinois opened its season with a 79-65 win over UC Irvine in regional round action of the 2K Sports Classic.
Demetri McCamey added 13 points and eight assists for the Illini (1-0), who are coming off a season in which they went 21-15 but missed the NCAA Tournament. Mike Tisdale had 12 points and eight rebounds in the victory.
Remember, this is the year of the high expectations and the low tolerance for excuses, but that said, this is one game and we shouldn't read into it too much. The Illini did take care of business and looked dominant in the first half against the visiting Anteaters from UC Irvine. Led by Brandon Paul's hot three point shooting, which we can officially credit to BP's breakfast of waffles and orange juice, the Illini rolled off six threes in the first half and held the Anteaters to only 18 first half points. The second half was much more balanced between the two teams in terms of scoring, as the Illini seemed to look vulnerable, once again to driving in the lane and giving up cheap fouls.
Illinois will play Toledo on Wednesday.