INDIANAPOLIS – It was a moment that lasted eight years for Illinois Basketball and its fans.

It was great that the Illinois people made sure they put on a show after so long a distance from the NCAA tournament.

Just like for the past month and a half, Brad Underwood’s top-manned Illinois team had control of the NCAA first-round tournament game against Drexel for most of the afternoon. They took a lead of 18 points at halftime and blew it up to 30 points in a 78:49 win at the Indiana Farmers Coliseum in Indianapolis.

It’s the first NCAA tournament win since March 22, 2013, when they defeated Colorado in the first round. After this win, Illinois is now waiting for the winner of the game between Loyola in eighth place and Georgia Tech in ninth place.

Four starters from Illinois achieved double-digit points, with Kofi Cockburn leading the way with 18 points. Ayo Dosunmu delivered another double-double in his first NCAA tournament game, scoring 17 points while receiving ten rebounds and six assists. Trent Frazier scored 11 points, Adam Miller 10, while Andre Curbelo received eight points and five assists.

Drexel managed to survive a healthy part of the first half and stayed within six points until 5:44 in the first half. But Illinois would leave the Dragons 18-6 to finish half-time and take an 18-point lead at break.

In the second half, the Illini blew it up and increased the lead to 31 with a layup Miller with 13:23. The momentum continued when Illinois shot 57 percent off the ground and Drexel shot just 30 percent off the ground.

This was a happy return for the Illinois after being nearly a decade away from big dance, and they were more than ready for the moment.

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