for this game

No. 25 Illinois edges Cornell

Dec 20, 2011 - 4:10 AM Champaign, IL (Sports Network) - Meyers Leonard contributed 19 points and 16 rebounds, and Brandon Paul and D.J. Richardson carried the Fighting Illini down the stretch to lift No. 25 Illinois over the upset-minded Cornell Big Red, 64-60.

Richardson and Paul chipped in 17 and 15 points, respectively, for Illinois (11-1), which trailed by 10 in the first half and was in danger of losing at Assembly Hall for the first time this season.

But Paul made consecutive jumpers to give the Illini a 60-58 lead with 1:07 to play, and Richardson drained a pull-up 17-footer with a hand in his face the next time down.

Drew Ferry then missed from long range for the second straight possession for the Big Red (4-5), who were coming off consecutive overtime wins but couldn't pull off another close decision.

Josh Figini had 14 points to lead Cornell.

A back-and-forth first half saw Illinois erase a 10-point deficit and pull even at the break at 32-all.

Ferry made a pair of three-pointers early in the second half to give the Big Red the lead, which they held until Richardson hit a three-pointer to tie things, 42-42, near the midway point.

It was a seesaw battle from there.

Game Notes

Illinois was coming off its first loss, falling to UNLV, 64-48, in Chicago on Saturday...Illinois' bench did not score on 10 attempts from the field and two tries from the foul line...Cornell fell to 0-4 on the road.