by David Cassilo / @dcassilo
Before Tuesday night, the most points Brandon Paul had scored all season was 21, and that was in double-overtime. But facing Illinois’ toughest test of the year, he more than doubled that, setting a career-high with 43 points and leading Illinois past No. 5 Ohio State, 79-74.
The unforgettable night for Paul took awhile to begin. Through the first ten minutes, the junior guard had just 2 points. Then Paul went off, hitting 10 of his final 12 shots. He was unconscious from beyond the arc (8-for-10) and almost as reliable from the foul line (13-for-15).
But Paul saved his best for last. After Illinois fell behind 66-64 with 3:34 to play, he scored his team’s final 15 points to give them the upset.
The monster night was even a surprise to Paul.
From the Chicago Tribune:
“I was laughing a couple of times but after the first few 3s, I was like I’m going to keep shooting them,” said Paul, who also grabbed eight rebounds with four blocks and hit 13 of 15 free throws, 5 of 6 as the clock ran down.
In the last 10 seasons, only two other players, Al Thornton and Chris Kaman, have had at least 40 points, 8 rebounds and 4 blocks in a game.