Paul earns National Player of the Week honors

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Paul earns National Player of the Week honors

The Illini keep winning, and Brandon Paul does, too.
After being named the Big Ten Conference Player of the Week yesterday, the U.S. Basketball Writers Association selected Paul as the Oscar Robertson National Player of the Week.
Paul averaged 24.5 points, 3.0 rebounds, 2.5 assists, 2.5 steals and 1.5 blocks in Illinois' two wins last week, which pushed it to a perfect 10-0 on the season.
A 14-point effort in a win over Western Carolina on Tuesday helped, but what brought home the award to Champaign this week was Paul's 35 points in an 85-74 upset win over No. 10 Gonzaga on Saturday. Paul connected on 10-of-16 shots, including five 3's, and added four rebounds, three assists, three steals and two blocks in the win.
It was the Illini's first road win over a non-conference Big Ten opponent since 1986, and helped John Groce's group move up to No. 10 in the AP Top 25 poll.
Paul was also named the National Player of the Week by the USBWA after his 43-point outing in a 79-74 upset of No. 5 Ohio State last season.
Paul's 19.5 points per game are second in the Big Ten, behind only Ohio State's Deshaun Thomas (20.6). He and teammate D.J. Richardson both have hit a league-best 28 3-pointers, and Paul also ranks eighth in assists and 12th in steals in the conference.

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Doug McDermott scores career-best 31 to lead Bulls past Grizzlies

Doug McDermott scores career-best 31 to lead Bulls past Grizzlies

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) — Doug McDermott scored a career-high 31 points, Jimmy Butler had a pair of key baskets in the closing minute and the Chicago Bulls beat the Memphis Grizzlies 108-104 on Sunday night.

The Bulls broke a 104-all tie with 25 seconds left on a 15-footer from Butler and a pair of free throws by McDermott. Butler also had a go-ahead 18-footer with 53 seconds left and finished with 16 points to help Chicago win its second straight.

Taj Gibson finished with 18 points and eight rebounds for the Bulls.

Mike Conley led Memphis with 28 points and eight assists, and Marc Gasol had 24 points and 11 rebounds.

Chicago was without second-leading scorer Dwyane Wade, who did not play on the second night of a back-to-back after the Bulls beat New Orleans at home Saturday.

The game featured 16 lead changes and 11 ties, with neither team holding a double-digit lead.

Most of McDermott's damage came in the first half after the Bulls struggled shooting in the latter part of the first quarter. McDermott came off the bench to reverse the trend.

McDermott scored 20 points in the first eight minutes of the second quarter, moving Chicago's lead to eight. He had 22 points for the half and the Bulls led 52-46 at the break.

TIP-INS

Bulls: Nikola Mirotic missed his fourth straight game dealing with an illness. ... F Paul Zipser, a rookie from Germany, started his second game and second straight after coming off the bench in his first 10 appearances this season. ... McDermott converted a four-point play in the second quarter. ... McDermott's 22 first-half points were more than his total for the four previous games (21). ... Chicago scored 14 points in the first quarter, a season low for the opening frame. ... The Bulls are now 4-5 on the second night of back-to-backs.

Grizzlies: Gasol made a pair of 3-pointers in the first half, marking 17 games this season he has made multiple shots from outside the arc. ... Memphis made 11 3-pointers in the game and has converted at least 10 3s in 20 games this season, including 11 of the last 14 games.

MLK HOLIDAY

This is the 15th season Memphis has hosted a game on Martin Luther King Jr. Day weekend. The Grizzlies are 6-9 in the holiday game.

In recognition of the holiday, Memphis wore special MLK50 Pride uniforms. The black jerseys have sea foam blue numbers, letters and piping with the full T-shirt look instead of the normal sleeveless. The piping replicated the railing in front the rooms at the Lorraine Motel, where King was assassinated in 1968, and the blue color was similar to the doors on the rooms.

MISSING WADE

Wade's absence meant missing a reunion with Memphis coach David Fizdale. Both left the Miami Heat organization after last season - Wade signing with the Bulls and Fizdale getting his first head coaching job in Memphis. Fizdale said he is sort of a "basketball romantic" and would like to have seen Wade retire in Miami. But he predicted after the player's career "his statue will be out front and (Wade) will be remembered as the great player that he should be."

UP NEXT

Bulls: Return home to face the Dallas Mavericks on Tuesday night.

Grizzlies: Memphis travels to Washington to face the Wizards on Wednesday night.