Austin, TX (Sports Network) - Brandon Paul and D.J. Richardson made shots when it  counted  as Illinois survived  an ugly  shooting performance and a furious second-half Colorado comeback to take a 57-49 decision in the second round of the NCAA Tournament.

A  game  of runs  was determined  by Illinois' closing  18-5 flurry, which was sparked by back-to-back 3-pointers from Richardson and Paul, who netted 14 and 17  points, respectively,  to push  the seventh-seeded  Illini (23-12)  into a third round East Regional match with the Miami Hurricanes on Sunday.

Tracy  Abrams added  13 points with six  assists for the Illini, who shot just 30.8 percent and were coming in as losers in four of six.
Inconsistent  offense ultimately  doomed  the  10th-seeded Buffaloes  (21-12), whose  second  scoreless stretch of  at least eight  minutes all but negated a 21-0 run to start the second half.
Askia  Booker scored  a team-best 14 points,  Josh Scott had 10 with 14 boards and Andre Roberson finished with nine points and eight rebounds in defeat.

Booker's  three 3-pointers in the early stages of the second half had a lot to do  with the  Buffaloes erasing a 16-point halftime deficit and taking a 44-39 edge, but the Illini stayed resilient and stifled them from there.  "In  that situation,  a  lot of  teams  would  crack and  I  thought our  guys continued to stay very poised," said Illini coach John Groce.

Illinois  went 11 1/2 minutes without a field goal until Abrams' layup cut its deficit  to  three, and two  minutes later, Richardson  had the Illini back in front  when he knocked down a 3-pointer. He then came away with a steal, which set  up  a triple for  Paul and  created a four-point  edge with just over six minutes left.

After  closing  out the  first half  by missing  their last  11 shots from the field,  the Buffaloes had similar struggles in the second half, as they failed to score a point in the nine minutes that followed their 21-0 run.

Their  last chance went up in smoke after they couldn't get rebound off Abrams missed  a 3-pointer with  1:12 remaining. Paul then sank a pair of free throws to  create a six-point  edge, and Booker's miss from long range on the ensuing possession sealed Colorado's fate.

Both teams came out shooting well, but the Illini went ahead, 22-17, just past the  midway  point after  Paul, Tyler  Griffey and  Richardson knocked down 3- pointers in succession of one another.   The Buffaloes started 8-for-12 from the field, but following Roberson's jumper to  cut  the deficit to  24-21, they  went ice cold  from the field and didn't score the rest of the half.

Abrams  and  Richardson took advantage for  the Illini by combining for a 13-0 run.  Richardson canned  two 3-pointers in a row before Abrams then capped the burst  with a triple in the final seconds to give Illinois a 37-21 lead at the break.

"We're  going to  get back  into this  game one  possession at  a time,"  said Colorado coach Tad Boyle  on what he told his team at halftime. "We cannot be happy with trading baskets."

Booker  finally got the Colorado offense going when his third 3-pointer of the second half had it within, 39-35. Soon after, the Illini committed their third straight turnover and Scott scored at the other end to give Colorado its first lead since the early moments of the first half.

(Copyright WBGZ / )