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No. 24 Illinois races past Coppin State

Dec 12, 2011 - 3:39 AM Champaign, IL (Sports Network) - Meyers Leonard posted a double-double with 18 points and 11 rebounds, as No. 24 Illinois downed Coppin State, 80-63, on Sunday.

D.J. Richardson scored a team-high 20 points, while Sam Maniscalco and Brandon Paul both chipped in 12 for the Illini (10-0), who are off to their best start since 2005-06.

Tony Gallo poured in a game-high 21 points in defeat, while Michael Harper finished with 13.

The Eagles (3-5) are winless in five road games this season.

The game was tied, 20-20, midway through the opening half, but the Illini scored 12 straight points to establish control.

Maniscalco notched five points during the run, which gave Illinois a 32-20 lead with 4:55 remaining in the half.

The Illini rode a 38-30 advantage into the break and the lead ballooned to 17 with just under 14 minutes remaining.

The Eagles, though, refused to go quietly. They chipped away, cutting the deficit to 59-57 on Taariq Cephas' three-pointer with 8:02 left.

They wouldn't get any closer.

Leonard knocked down a mid-range jumper and Paul followed with a trey, sparking a game-sealing surge, as the Illini reclaimed a double-digit advantage with just under four minutes remaining. They were not threatened down the stretch.

In all, Illinois shot 56.4 percent from the field, knocked down 10-of-22 three-pointers and handed out 21 assists.

Game Notes

This was the fourth all-time meeting between the teams. Illinois holds a 4-0 advantage. In 2005-06, the Illini won their first 15 games of the season and finished the campaign undefeated in conference play (14-0).