Paris, France–Illinois closed out its European tour with a 96-77 victory over AMW Select on Monday night in Paris.
After falling behind 11-2 out of the gate, the Illini fought back to within one possession by the end of the first quarter. Less than a minute later, the UI faced its biggest deficit of the game at 10 points. The Orange and Blue responded with a staggering 26-3 run to open up a 45-32 lead with 3:22 remaining in the half.
AMW got back to within nine, but freshman Aaron Jordan drained a 30-foot 3-pointer at the buzzer to get the Illini lead back to double digits, where it would remain the rest of the way.
Sophomore Leron Black continued his torrid play, recording his third double-double of the four-game tour with game highs of 21 points on 8-of-12 shooting and 15 rebounds. He scored in a variety of ways against AMW, from postmoves in the paint to offensive rebounds, pull-up jumpers and pick-and-pop action. Black averaged a double-double for the trip at 14.0 points and 11.8 rebounds.
Black was one of four Illini to score in double figures on the night. Junior Malcolm Hill netted 14 points while going a perfect 5-for-5 from the field. Freshman D.J. Williams set his trip-high with 14 points on 6-of-9 shooting. And fellow freshman Aaron Jordan hit double digits for the second straight game with 13.
Senior Mike LaTulip – who will redshirt this season in order to retain his final year of eligibility as as graduate transfer – earned the start for tonight’s game as an acknowledgement from Coach John Groce for all of his hard work and sacrifice for the program. LaTulip made the most of his opportunity, scoring nine points.
While Black dominated the glass throughout the game, the Illini also received seven boards from senior Mike Thorne. Junior Jaylon Tate, meanwhile, had his third straight game of the tour with at least five assists, posting a game-high six assists compared to just one turnover.
Illinois shot its best percentage of the trip, knocking down 47.6 percent from the field (39-82). Groce continuined with his plan of dividing the minutes nearly equally, with 11 Illini logging double figures and no one playing more than 23 minutes.
Illinois concluded its European tour with a 3-1 record. The Illini will tour Paris tomorrow before returning to the U.S. on Wednesday.
(Article and photo courtesy Illinois Athletics)