Illini beat Richmond, Weber gets 300th
Some quick thoughts on Illinois' 70-61 victory over Richmond late Tuesday at the Cancun Challenge, a game in which Bruce Weber picked up his 300th victory. . .
If the trio of Meyers Leonard, Sam Maniscalco and D.J. Richardson can keep doing what they did when Illinois' schedule gets tougher, Weber will notch a lot more victories.
Leonard (22 points and 12 rebounds) did the necessary stuff around the basket as well as the outside things that give him a chance to be special. Richardson, who had 15 points in 38 minutes, also was active.
The biggest eye-opener, though, may have been Maniscalco, who had 19 points on 7-for-13 shooting in 29 minutes, all season highs for the senior transfer from Bradley. He not only steadied the Illini, who had nine turnovers after the 43 they'd piled up in their previous two games.
Maniscalco was an all-around offensive contributor who made his jumpers and cut well to the basket. A big question when the Illini take on Illinois State tonight in the Cancun Challenge championship (8:30 p.m CBS Sports Network) is how well Maniscalco's surgically repaired ankle holds up under the test of back-to-back games.
Interestingly, Weber, who's talking about going deep this season, stuck to seven players against the Spiders, who were a tricky Northwestern-like matchup. Richmond not only runs a Princeton offense; it does some different things on defense.
Joseph Bertrand (21 minutes) and Tracy Abrams (13) were the only reserves to play more than five minutes as Weber leaned heavily on four of his starting five--Richardson (38), Tyler Griffey (36), Leonard (35), Maniscalco (29) and Brandon Paul (19).
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