CHAMPAIGN — If there had been a game rather than the Orange and Blue scrimmage Monday night, Illinois basketball coach John Groce would have been ready with a starting lineup.

CHAMPAIGN — If there had been a game rather than the Orange and Blue scrimmage Monday night, Illinois basketball coach John Groce would have been ready with a starting lineup.

Brandon Paul started at the point with guards D.J. Richardson and Joseph Bertrand, forward Myke Henry and center Nnanna Egwu during two of the four 8-minute scrimmage sessions at Assembly Hall.

“Those are the five guys who graded out highest in practice,’’ Groce said. “Those are the guys who have been able to execute what we’ve asked them to do. We’ll see where things are by Saturday.’’

When Illinois hosts Division II Lewis in the exhibition opener Saturday night, things could change, but these five are off to the best start in Groce’s first season here as the Illini continue to learn a different level of expectations under their new coach.

“I’m trying to establish a mindset that at Illinois, practice matters,’’ Groce said.

Richardson put the ball on the floor and scored a team-high 18 points in the scrimmage, including an 8-for-10 night at the free-throw line as he attempts to be more than one-dimensional on offense.

Since the beginning of practice on Oct. 12, Paul was the only point guard with more assists than turnovers in live action, although sophomore Tracy Abrams and freshman walk-on Mike LaTulip rallied after a sluggish first week. Paul had nine points with four assists and four turnovers.

Egwu showed off his mobility with 14 points and six rebounds, including 10 points in the second period. Bertrand had 10 points with seven rebounds.

Henry played his way into the lineup because of his rebounding during practice, Groce said. He had seven points and eight rebounds. The Illini lacked ballhandling, losing 23 turnovers compared to 18 assists during the session. At one poiint, Groce slapped the scorer’s bench.

“I thought we were throwing the ball all over the gym,’’ he said.

The scrimmage was essentially four 8-minute games where Groce rotated the lineups.

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ILLINI SCRIMMAGE BOX SCORE

Richardson 4-10 8-10 18, Egwu 7-9 0-0 14, Berardini 0-0 0-0 0, Henry 2-10 3-4 7, Shaw 1-4 0-0 3, LaTulip 1-5 0-0 3, Paul 4-13 0-2 9, Bertrand 4-9 0-2 10, McLaurin 1-4 2-4 4, Rice 3-9 0-2 7, Langford 1-7 0-0 3, Abrams 2-9 0-1 5, Djimde 5-6 0-1 10, Griffey 2-7 0-0 4.