Despite being nearly five years old, NCAA Basketball 10 still plays remarkably well. Even when it's the CPU playing itself. In the first game of the season, the Fighting Illini were ready to take on the Georgia Southern Eagles at State Farm Center. There were no big surprises here as Illinois won handily, though I know for a fact that Coach Groce would not be a happy camper giving up 70 points to Georgia Southern. Here's a full summary of how it went down.
The game started out much closer than most probably anticipated it might. The Eagles' talented point guard Jelani Hewitt scored a quick six points to help put Georgia Southern on top at the under twelve-minute timeout, 15-10. But from then on it was the Rayvonte Rice show. Rice collected fourteen first-half points along with three assists and a few rebounds as well.
Transfer guards Ahmad Starks and Aaron Cosby certainly made their presence felt as well. Starks contributed another eight first-half points and Cosby drained several deep three's to propel the Illini to a 36-26 lead at the under four-minute break. Kendrick Nunn came off of the bench in this game because of his knee injury, but still scored in double-figures with a solid eleven points including seven in the first half.
Nnanna Egwu chipped in another four first-half buckets, but he got two early fouls and had to sit on the bench for nearly half of the game. It wouldn't matter, though, as the Illini marched into halftime with an eleven-point lead.
Halftime: Illinois 44, Georgia Southern 33
Power forward Trent Wiedeman helped propel Georgia Southern to an 8-1 run to start the second half, and suddenly Illinois was staring at a very slim lead. Coach Groce called a full timeout with the Illini up 45-41 and they never looked back. Inserting freshman Leron Black into the game helped with the rebounding battle, as he collected seven boards in the second half.
Both Cosby and Rice drilled some big three-pointers to extend the lead back out to double-digits, and by the time the under eight-minute timeout rolled around, the Illini were up by nearly twenty points. This allowed bench guys to get some quality minutes, and Maverick Morgan certainly took advantage of his ten minutes on the court with six points and three rebounds.
Austin Colbert and Michael Finke also saw some playing time, though Michael was yanked after missing three three-pointers in a row. Mike LaTulip and Cameron Liss were the only Illini who never saw action in this game, but they very well could have with the lead at 80-55 with less than five minutes to go. The Eagles made a furious rally by hitting several long-range shots but all the scoring in the world couldn't make up for the hole they'd dug at the start of the second half. It was ultimately too little too late, and Illinois went on to win the game by eighteen points, though the way Georgia Southern played, it didn't even deserve to be that close.
Final: Illinois 88, Georgia Southern 70
Check out the complete box score from the team's first victory of the 2014-15 campaign below, and look for another NCAA Basketball 10 simulation early next week.