Illini Throttle McKendree in First Exhibition, 101-66
Oct. 24, 2013
CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - Illinois overcame a sluggish start and ran away with its first exhibition game with a 101-66 victory over McKendree on Thursday night at State Farm Center. The Orange and Blue boasted four players in double figures, led by a game-high 16 points from junior Tracy Abrams. All 11 Illini who entered the contest registered a basket, as UI shot 55 percent from the field.
Abrams went 5-of-10 from the field and was a perfect 6-of-6 from the free throw line to lead the charge. Junior Rayvonte Rice and freshman Jaylon Tate each turned in 13 points, while senior Jon Ekey had an efficient night with 12 points on 5-of-7 shooting. Four other Illini each had eight points, including senior Joseph Bertrand, junior Nnanna Egwu, and freshmen Austin Colbert and Maverick Morgan.
After trailing early, the Orange and Blue never looked back after a key 6-0 run from 2:50 to 2:11 put the Illini ahead 41-37. The spurt, which featured Bertrand and four freshmen on the floor, included a pair of dunks from Colbert and a steal and layup by Tate. The Illini finished the first half with a flurry, going on a 27-9 run over the final 6:50 to take a 47-39 lead into halftime. Illinois then doubled McKendree's output in the second half, outscoring the Bearcats 54-27.
The Illini dominated the rebounding battle with a 46-29 advantage, paced by a game-high eight boards by Bertand, who also tallied three blocks. Freshman Maverick Morgan matched Bertrand with three blocks, helping UI earn a 9-1 edge in rejections. UI only committed eight turnovers and forced 14 takeaways for a 19-8 advantage for points off turnovers.
Up Next: Illinois will play its second exhibition game against Northwood (Mich.) at State Farm Center on Sunday, Nov. 3 at 5 p.m.