Western Michigan's David Kool (23) passes around Illinois' Dominique Keller (23) during their NCAA college basketball game in Champaign, Ill., on Sunday, Dec. 13, 2009. (AP Photo/Robin Scholz) By Robin Scholz
Illinois D. J. Richardson drives for the basket against Western Michigan during their NCAA college basketball game at the Assembly Hall in Champaign, Ill., on Sunday, Dec. 13, 2009. (AP Photo/Robin Scholz) By Robin Scholz
Illinois' Brandon Paul, left, shoots while being guarded byWestern Michigan's Mike Douglas during their NCAA college basketball game at the Assembly Hall in Champaign, Ill., on Sunday, Dec. 13, 2009. (AP Photo/Robin Scholz) By Robin Scholz
Western Michigan's Demetrius Ward drives into Illinois' Bill Cole during their NCAA college basketball game in Champaign, Ill., on Sunday, Dec. 13, 2009. (AP Photo/Robin Scholz) By Robin Scholz
CHAMPAIGN, Ill. (AP) -- Sixth man Dominique Keller scored 15 points and forward Mike Davis had 12 Sunday to lead Illinois past Western Michigan, 88-53.
Both teams opened cold, shooting a combined 1-for-17 in the game's first 5:30.
But the Illini (8-2) opened up a 16-5 lead with 12:09 left in the first half on three straight baskets by Demetri McCamey, D.J. Richardson and Keller. The Broncos (3-4) never recovered.
Illinois' bench players scored 40 points.
If there was a chance for Western Michigan to stay in the game, it came early, when the Illini couldn't buy a basket and coach Bruce Weber loudly reminded his team often to play controlled and pass the ball around.
Illinois didn't hit a field goal in the first 5:11, going 0-for-9 and limping to a 4-3 lead at the free-throw line.
But the Broncos were just as bad.
They had one field goal over that stretch. Point guard David Kool -- Western Michigan's leading scorer with 23 points a game -- had two points at halftime on 0-for-8 shooting and didn't score from the field until early in the second half.
And after Illinois got its first points from the field -- a short basket from Mike Davis that gave the Illini a 6-3 lead -- Western Michigan stayed cold. The Broncos were 7-for-34 at halftime and trailed the Illini 48-25.
The Illini really came to life after McCamey -- who finished with 11 points -- scored on a layup on a fast break with 13:34 left in the half for a 10-5 Illini edge.
Then, after a fast defensive stop, freshman guard Richardson hit a 3-pointer at 12:48. Thirty seconds later, Richardson, standing on the baseline, fed a hard pass to Keller at the top of the key. Keller buried a 3 for a 16-5 lead that opened up the game.
Down by 23, Western Michigan went on a 7-2 run to open the second half, including four points from Flenard Whitfield on a free throw and a 3-pointer.
Whitfield finished with 17 to lead the Broncos, and the quick run he fueled closed the gap to 50-32 with 17:57 to play.
But with Weber again on his feet, this time pleading for intensity from his team, the Illini quickly doused whatever comeback the Broncos could muster with an 8-3 run. Davis hit back-to-back jump shots and McCamey and Mike Tisdale followed with a pair of layups to extend the lead back to 58-35.
Kool, a senior guard, settled for 13 points for Western Michigan.
Weber set a goal for Keller to be the best sixth man in the Big Ten when the season started, and the 6-foot-7 senior is averaging 6.6 points and 2.6 rebounds a game.
But Sunday he found his 3-point touch, trying three and hitting all of them.
Illinois has won four in a row, and now hits the road for a trip that includes Georgia, Missouri and Gonzaga.
(Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)