SCRANTON, Pa. — The Central Illinois Drive opened the Premier Basketball League playoffs on Thursday much the same way as they cruised through the regular season — with a lopsided victory.
After winning 18 of 19 regular-season games, the Drive led by 16 at halftime and put away Scranton Wilkes-Barre in the third quarter en route to a 132-103 win.
Central Illinois takes a 1-0 lead in the best-of-three PBL semifinal series and will shoot for a spot in the championship series on Saturday at 7:05 p.m. in game two at U.S. Cellular Coliseum.
“We definitely played well the third quarter,” Drive coach A.J. Guyton said. “We got a few stops in a row and hit a lot of open shots.”
Central Illinois enjoyed a 63-47 halftime advantage and ballooned that margin to 101-71 through three quarters.
Former Illinois State player Anthony Slack paced the Drive with 25 points and 11 rebounds. Todd Peterson tossed in six 3-pointers and added 24 points.
Daniel Ruffin chipped in 15 and Jemal Farmer and Mike Malat had 12 each for Central Illinois, which shot 49 percent from the field.
“Everybody contributed,” said Guyton. “They were unselfish. They played off each other and hit the open man.”
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