Illinois beats Butler 78-61 to win Maui tourney
LAHAINA, Hawaii — The Illinois caught a huge wave of scoring in Hawaii and rode it all the way to the Maui Invitational title.
Now, the Illini are hoping to carry that success to bigger tournaments that start in March.
“We are excited — we are not done,” Illinois coach John Groce said Wednesday night after Illinois beat Butler 78-61 to top an eight-team field that included No. 9 North Carolina and Marquette.
“It is an extremely great start for our basketball team, but we have to make sure we do not eat the poisonous pill of success,” Groce said.
Brandon Paul scored 20 points to lead Illinois in the team’s third straight double-digit win.
“We came out with the mindset that we wanted to prove ourselves, and I think we did that,” Paul said. “We’re in no shape to just stop right here.”
The Illini (6-0) held off several attempts by Butler to string points together in the second half. Paul was one of four players in double figures, along with Tracy Abrams with 17 points and Tyler Griffey and D.J. Richardson with 14 each.