Tuscaloosa, AL (SportsNetwork.com) - Levi Randolph scored 20 points, grabbed seven rebounds and dished out five assists as the sixth-seeded Alabama Crimson Tide destroyed the third-seeded Illinois Fighting Illini, 79-58, in the first round of the National Invitation Tournament at Coleman Coliseum.
Rodney Cooper contributed 19 points on 6-of-9 shooting, and Retin Obasohan added 15 points with seven rebounds to help Alabama (19-14), which advances to the second round of the NIT to take on second-seeded Miami-Florida. Justin Coleman chipped in 10 points off the bench in the win.
Malcolm Hill scored 22 points and dished out six assists to pace Illinois (19-14). Rayvonte Rice collected 12 points with six boards, and Kendrick Nunn posted 10 points in the defeat.
Alabama was scorching hot in the first half. The Crimson Tide buried 63 percent of their shots, including 5-of-10 from 3-point distance to take a commanding 46-22 lead into the intermission. Illinois managed a meager 31.3 percent from the field, and went just 2-of-12 from beyond the arc.
The Tide fell slightly to 55 percent shooting in the second half, while the Illini made 33.3 percent of their attempts. Illinois was only able to shave three points off the Alabama first-half advantage as the Illini dropped the lopsided contest.
Alabama held a 32-16 edge in points scored in the paint, and outscored the Illini from the charity stripe, 15-9, in the victory.