Men's Basketball Falls To No. 2 Illinois In Season Opener

Nov. 16, 2001

Box Score


In a battle of pre-season All-America guards, a three minute spurt by Illinois Frank Williams helped guide the No. 2 ranked Fighting Illini to a 76-58 victory over Gonzaga in the season opener for both teams. Gonzaga's Dan Dickau, a pre-season John R. Wooden Award candidate, led Gonzaga with a game-high 19 points.

Both teams showed signs of it being the first game of the season as Illinois only pulled out to a 14-11 lead with 9:31 left in the first period. A 3-pointer by Dickau trimmed the lead to 17-16 before Willams caught fire.

Willams scored all nine points in a 9-2 run starting at the 6:18 mark. Williams knocked down a 3-pointer and six free throws to give the Fighting Illini a 28-19 lead.

The Zags cut into the lead as Germayne Forbes knocked down a bucket from the right corner followed by a quick 3-pointer by Blake Stepp that cut Illinois lead to 30-28. Stepp was a late addition to the starting line-up after having knee surgery in the spring he was considered questionable for tonight's game. He finished with five points in 16 minutes played.

Robert Archibald would take control over the final two minutes of the first half as Illinois headed to the locker room with a 36-29 lead. Archibald continued to pound the Zags inside in the second half as he scored six points to give Illinois a 50-39 lead they would not look back from. Archibald would finish with 16 points.

Gonzaga could never put together a late run despite Zach Gourde scoring 8 of his 15 points in the second half. Gonzaga did own the advantage on the glass finishing with a 40-30 advantage in rebounding. Gonzaga drops to 0-1 on the season and will face Montana on Sunday afternoon at 3 p.m. This will be the Zags home opener and can be heard on KGA 1510 AM or seen on KHQ-TV in Spokane.



Illinois improves to 1-0 and extends their current home winning streak to 19. Brian Cook had 18 points to lead Illinois while Cory Bradford chipped in 17.

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