Brandon Paul scored 17 points, Tracy Abrams added 13 and No. 10 Illinois pulled away late to remain unbeaten with a 66-53 victory over Eastern Kentucky on Sunday night.
In a game between undefeated teams, the Illini led by 11 early but needed a late 12-2 run to gain control and help John Groce become only the second coach in Illinois history to win his first 12 games. Groce matched the school record for the best start by a first-year coach set by Fletcher Lane in 1907.
Joseph Bertrand chipped in with 11 points for Illinois.
Corey Walden scored 21 points and Glenn Cosey had 11 for the Colonels (9-1), who came in riding the school's best start in 66 years. Eastern Kentucky hadn't won nine straight games since the 1964-65 season.