Illinois eases past Western Carolina, 58-35
CHAMPAIGN, Ill. (AP)—Illinois leaned on its big men Monday night, getting 13 points from Mike Tisdale and 11 more from Shaun Pruitt in a 58-35 win over Western Carolina.
Pruitt, a 6-foot-10 senior center, was no surprise. He entered the game as Illinois’ leading scorer at 12 points a game. But Tisdale, a 7-foot-1 freshman center, averaged just 3.8 points a game before Monday.
Illinois (6-3) endured a rough first half, highlighted only by Tisdale’s eight points. The Illini went just over six minutes without scoring during one stretch.
Sophomore guard Brandon Giles led Western Carolina (3-7, 0-2) with 13 points. He was the only Catamount to score in double figures.
Illinois was the second of stop on a two-game Big Ten tour for the Catamounts. Saturday in Bloomington, Ind., No. 13 Indiana coasted to a 100-52 win.
Tisdale was the difference for Illinois. He went on a 6-0 run toward the end of the first half, scoring on a pair of soft jump shots and a dunk, to build a 26-15 lead.
Those points effectively put the game out of reach for the Catamounts, who shot 27.1 percent from the field.