Brandon Paul and D.J. Richardson made consecutive 3-pointers to give Illinois back the lead with six minutes left and the No. 7-seed Illini pulled out a tough 57-49 win over No. 10 Colorado in a game of wild momentum swings Friday in the second round of the NCAA tournament.
Illinois led by 16 at halftime only to watch Colorado rip off a 21-2 run in the second to grab the lead. The Illini looked desperate until Paul and Richardson coolly knocked down their shots to put Illinois ahead 48-44.
Four free throws by Paul eventually put the game out of reach for the Illini (23-12) who will play No. 2 seed Miami on Sunday.
Paul led Illinois with 17 points. Askia Booker scored 14 points for Colorado (21-12).
The baskets by Paul and Richardson rescued the Illini from an epic meltdown. Illinois, a team that came in with the confidence built by playing through the rigors of the Big Ten, was in control in the first half.
Illinois used its defensive muscle and a 21-5 run over the final 10 min...