CHAMPAIGN, Ill. (AP) -- Basketball coach Bruce Weber says he'd like to bottle the intensity No. 13 Illinois used Monday night to win its season-opener against UC-Irvine.
The Illini led 42-18 at halftime before coasting to a 79-65 win.
On Tuesday, Weber said Illinois' hustle and defensive work in the first 20 minutes were better than anything he saw from last year's 21-15 team.
Brandon Paul led Illinois with 18 points. All were on three-point shots and nine came in three-straight first-half possessions that buried the Anteaters.
Weber says he challenged Paul in the offseason to become a better shooter. Now, he wants the sophomore guard to learn to play hard when he gets tired.
Illinois next faces Toledo at home Wednesday.
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