Brian Spurlock-US PRESSWIRE
The Fighting Illini won the 2012 Maui Invitational with a 78-61 win against Butler on Wednesday.
Illinois jumped out early, building a 19-10 lead. The Fighting Illini extended their first-half lead to as many as 15 points before taking a 39-28 halftime lead. Butler came charging back in the second half and cut the lead to 49-44 with just over 12 minutes to play, but Illinois had an answer. The Illini went on a 10-0 run to extend the lead back to 15 at 59-44 and Butler never got back within single digits.
As he did throughout the tournament, Brandon Paul led the way for the Illinois. Paul scored 20 points against Butler and averaged 19.7 points per game in the tournament. Paul was named the Maui Invitational MVP. He had plenty of help on Wednesday as three other players scored in double figures for Illinois. Rotnei Clarke led the way for Butler with a game-high 27 points.
The Illini beat USC, Chaminade and Butler on their way to the Maui Invitational championship. They did not trail in any of their three games.