CHAMPAIGN, Ill. (AP) — Michael Finke had his second career double-double and four more Illinois players scored in double figures to help the Illini beat Division III Augustana (Ill.) 96-62 on Wednesday night.
Illinois is 5-0 for the first time since winning its first six games in 2014-15.
Finke finished with 20 points and 10 rebounds — both season highs — and Leron Black had 15 points on 5-of-7 shooting for Illinois. Freshman Mark Smith scored 13, Aaron Jordan added 12 points and Trent Frazier 10. Jordan made a career-high four 3-pointers to make his season mark to 11 of 18.
“I’m very pleased with Michael Finke tonight,” Illinois coach Brad Underwood said. “Now that he’s had a double-double, and had 10 rebounds, I can expect that of him every night.”
Smith became the first freshman to score in double figures in four straight games for Illinois since Kendrick Nunn in 2014. Brian Cook was the last with five straight in 2000.
The Illini, who tied a season-high with 19 assists on 32 field goals, made 10 of 23 from distance to top their previous season-best of seven.
“Nineteen assists on 32 baskets — that’s a great number for us,” Underwood said. “Especially the fact that 11 came from Mark Alstork and (Te’Jon) Lucas.”
Finke and Alstork hit back-to-back 3s to cap an 8-0 game-opening run and the Illini never trailed. Brett Benning made a 3-pointer to pull Augustana within two points, but Illinois scored the next 10 points to make it 21-9. Jordan and Finke hit 3-pointers 27 seconds apart to make it 32-17 with nearly nine minutes left in the half and Augustana trailed by double figures the rest of the way.
Alstork, a graduate transfer from Wright State, scored all of his eight points in the first half and finished with five assists, two blocks and a steal. He shot 3 of 5 from the field, including 2 of 3 from 3-point range.
“It was great to see him get going and make shots,” Underwood said of Alstork. “Pretty good night for him.”
Dylan Sortillo led the Vikings with 18 points and Chrishawn Orange added 10 on 2-of-10 shooting.
Augustana turned it over 29 times — the most by an Illinois opponent this season — leading to 36 points.
“We were pretty aggressive and I think that, by playing that way, our perimeter defense becomes our best post defense,” Underwood said.
Augustana plays at Chadron State on Saturday.
Illinois hosts North Carolina Central on Friday.
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