CHAMPAIGN, Ill. (AP) - Meyers Leonard scored 15 points and had six blocks and Brandon Paul added 14 points to lead Illinois to a 67-49 season-opening win over Loyola Chicago on Friday.
Leonard, a 7-foot-1 sophomore, had nine points by halftime and hit the first 3-pointer of his career for the Illini. Paul overcame a cold-shooting first half in which he scored two points to lead Illinois.
Paul's 3-pointer with just over nine minutes to play gave the Illini a 48-38 lead and the breathing room they needed to finish off the Ramblers (0-1).
Loyola had pulled to within 38-34 with 11:53 to play after an 11-2 run.
Walt Gibbler led Loyola with 19 points, 15 in the second half.