CHAMPAIGN—In 59 seconds, Illinois took control of a tie game and never looked back.Over those 59 seconds in the beginning the second half against Brown on Monday, the Illini went on a 9-0 run that turned a tie game into a nine-point lead that they would not relinquish.Aaron Cosby scored 18 points, with 13 in the first five minutes of the second half, as Illinois (4-0) topped Brown (1-4) 89-68 on Monday night.Brown took a 35-31 lead into halftime by shooting 51.9 percent from the field. Illinois’ offense, which entered the game averaging 100.3 points per game, was limited to 30.6 percent from the floor in the first half.
”Obviously a tale of two halves,” Illinois coach John Groce said. ”They played with a little more toughness than us and a little more sense of urgency than us.”
The game-changing run started with a steal by Rayvonte Rice, who was fouled on a fast break layup after he picked off a pass.On the next possession, Jaylon Tate got a steal off of a deflection from center Nnanna Egwu and pushed the ball coast to coast. Hanging in midair, Tate wrapped around a Brown defender in the paint and found a wide-open Cosby in the corner for three.Cosby did the work himself on the Bears’ next possession, making a steal and drawing an intentional foul by Steven Spieth. Cosby nailed both free throws and followed it with a layup on the ensuing possession to push the lead to nine.After that, Brown never threatened and the lead reached as high as 24 in the second half.In the second half, Illinois shot 73.1 percent from the field and was 4-of-6 from behind the 3-point line. After its sluggish first half, Illinois dropped 58 points in the second half.Rice added 15 points and 10 rebounds for his first double-double of the season. Five Illinois players reached double figures.Spieth led Brown with 21 points and seven rebounds. He was an efficient 7-of-10 from the field but had four turnovers. Sophomore Leland King was held to seven points after back-to-back games of scoring 25 points.After only a combined six rebounds in the team’s first two games, Egwu gathered eight rebounds Monday.