Champaign, IL – Meyers Leonard contributed 19 points and 16 minded Cornell Big 60.
Richardson and Paul chipped in 17 and 15 points, respectively, for Illinois (11-1), which trailed by 10 in the first half and was in danger of losing at Assembly Hall for the first time this season.
But Paul made consecutive jumpers to give the Illini a 60-58 lead with 1:16 to play, and Richardson drained a pull-up 17-footer with a hand in his face the next time down.
Drew Ferry then missed from long range for the second straight possession for the Big Red (4-5), who were coming off consecutive overtime wins but couldn't pull off another close decision.
Josh Figini had 14 points to lead Cornell, which was outrebounded, 39-24.