After three straight blowouts, No. 5 Illinois was looking forward to its first real test Saturday against No. 24 Gonzaga.
Now it looks like the Illini will have to wait until top-ranked Wake Forest comes to Champaign, Ill., on Wednesday.
Deron Williams and Luther Head each scored 20 points to lead Illinois to an 89-72 win over Gonzaga in the John Wooden Tradition at Conseco Fieldhouse.
The Illini (4-0) set the tone from the opening tip, using superior three-point shooting and suffocating defense to dominate the Bulldogs (3-1) and set up an early season showdown with the Demon Deacons next week.
"We just came out and tried to make a statement, show we're for real," Williams said.
They certainly did.
Illinois made 14 of 28 three-pointers and scored 29 points off 19 Gonzaga turnovers to turn the game into a rout in the first five minutes.
"We were thoroughly dominated today, in every phase of the game," Bulldogs coach Mark Few said. "There were times it didn't appear we belonged out there on the court."
Adam Morrison led Gonzaga with 26 points and 11 rebounds and Ronny Turiaf added 12 points and nine rebounds.
Williams got the Illini started on an 11-0 run early in the first half, and they never looked back. Illinois forced seven turnovers in the first five minutes, which led to 14 points and an 18-4 lead.
Gonzaga's game plan going in was to get the ball down low to Turiaf, who was coming off a career-high 40 points in a win over Idaho on Wednesday.
But every time Turiaf touched the ball on Saturday he was immediately surrounded by two or three Illinois players, forcing him to pass out of the post.
"They're young, but we bothered them even when Turiaf had good position," Illinois coach Bruce Weber said. "He was saying, 'Get me the ball!' But by the time they could get it to him, it was too late."
Turiaf couldn't handle the pressure. He had six turnovers, including one pass out of a double team that landed in the second row of the stands.
"Every time I touched the ball, there were two guys on me and three others watching me," Turiaf said. "I tried to find my teammates and did a poor job . . . I did a pathetic job tonight."
And his teammates just couldn't pick up the slack. Morrison scored 11 points in the first half, but he was the only player at all effective against the deep and athletic Illini.
The Illini made 10 of 17 three-pointers and shot 55 percent from the field in the first half to take control.
"We shoot the ball so well, and with such confidence," said Head, who had nine assists. "Once we start making shots, it's going to be a long night for the other team."
They closed the half in convincing fashion, with a three-pointer by Williams, a layup by Roger Powell and a layup by Head at the buzzer for a 58-27 lead that turned the second half into garbage time.
The Bulldogs were overwhelmed by the lightning-quick Illini break and physical inside play and trailed by as many as 38 points in the second half.
Dee Brown was the facilitator, pushing the ball relentlessly up the floor. Brown finished with 17 points and eight assists.
Gonzaga outrebounded Illinois, 39-26, but that was about all the Bulldogs did right.
"That's a really, really good basketball team," Few said. "I don't think they have any weaknesses at all."