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Paul Big Again as Illinois Holds Off NIU
CHAMPAIGN, Ill. (AP) -- Brandon Paul scored 20 points in the first half, leading No. 23 Illinois to a 80-61 victory over Northern Illinois Tuesday night.

Paul, a freshman guard, had 14 of Illinois' first 21 points. He finished 6 of 16 from the field, including 4 of 8 from beyond the arc. Mike Davis dominated the boards, grabbing 17 rebounds and added 14 points for the Illini.

Northern Illinois gave Illinois (2-0) a scare at the end of the half, going on a 14-3 run to close the gap to 49-41. The Huskies didn't let up, trimming the Illini's lead to seven points with 12:27 remaining in the game.

The Illini were plagued by turnovers that resulted in 17 Huskie points.

Najul Ervin and Tony Nixon led the Huskies (0-2) in scoring with 10 points each.

(Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)
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