Richardson sparks victory

Richardson sparks victory

AVIANO, Italy — D.J. Richardson scored 11 points to lead Illinois past West Virginia 47-26 in a men's basketball scrimmage Wednesday at Aviano Air Base.

Richardson hit all five of his shots as Illinois sank 20 of 32 from the field, including 5 of 8 from three-point range. The Illini had 15 assists on 20 baskets.

Myke Henry had seven points on 3-of-5 shooting, and Sam Maniscalco added two three-pointers and four assists in the 20-minute contest.

The Illini also had a 10-minute scrimmage against the Aviano varsity, winning 26-12. West Virginia defeated Aviano 25-7. The three squads also participated in a dunk contest, won by Illinois' Joseph Bertrand.

Illinois faces Castellanze Select at noon Thursday in Como.

In men's gymnastics:

Illinois' Maestas eighth. This ought to get the rest of the world's attention.

Danell Leyva edged world bronze medalist Jonathan Horton on Wednesday in the first day of competition at the U.S. gymnastics championships, and the U.S. men showed they might just have the goods to back up their big talk about next summer's London Olympics.

Leyva's total of 92.5 put him more than two points ahead of Horton — though Leyva's score was bolstered by a monster 16.9 on high bar that included bonus points awarded by USA Gymnastics to encourage the men to beef up their routines. Horton, trying to become the first three-time winner since 2004 Olympic champion Paul Hamm, finished with 90.4 points. Steve Legendre was third with 89.4 points, and former U.S. junior champ John Orozco had 89.2. Illinois' C.J. Maestas was eighth with 87.35, led by a fourth-place standing on rings (14.85). The Illini's Tyler Mizoguchi scored a 15.7 on vault to help him to a tie for 15th in the all-around (84.9). Paul Ruggeri (83.6) was 21st, and Austin Phillips (80.4) was 30th.

The men's final is Friday night.

Though they haven't won a world medal since 2003, the Americans have been saying the last few years they think they can challenge for the gold medal in London. That's a tall order, but they displayed the kind of polish and tough tricks they'll need if they're going to have any chance of making a run at the Japanese and Chinese. And they did it at nationals, a meet that's usually tense and filled with major errors.