Nov. 8, 2013
Illinois Postgame Notes
Illinois 80, Alabama State 63
State Farm Center // Nov. 8, 2013 // Attendance: 15,271
1. Illinois opened its 109th season of basketball tonight and improved to 96-13 all-time in season openers. It marks the 15th consecutive season Illinois has opened the season 1-0.
2. Tonight also marked the 52nd season at State Farm Center for the Illini, as they improved to 44-8 in home openers at State Farm Center and 94-15 overall in home-openers.
3. For the second straight year, the Orange Krush student section and Illini fans at State Farm Center paid tribute to Coach Groce's alma mater, Taylor University, in a unique way. The Krush replicated Taylor's famous tradition of "Silent Night," where entire gym remains silent from tip-off until the Trojans score their 10th point. When that 10th point is scored, the crowd then erupts into a wild celebration. The Illini faithful executed their version, called "Orange Hush", to perfection, staying quiet for the Illini's first eight points before erupting in cheers when senior Joseph Bertrand hit a baseline jumper at the 16:04 mark for Illinois' 9th and 10th points of the night. Watch video of the Orange Hush Explosion.
4. Junior Rayvonte Rice tallied a team-high 22 points, equaling the most points in an Illini debut since Brandon Paul scored 22 points against SIU-Edwardsville to open the 2009-10 season. He also had nine rebounds and was 9-of-10 from the free throw line in his first regular season game in Orange and Blue.
5. Junior forward/center Nnanna Egwu picked up his second career double-double tonight with 10 points and 10 rebounds. His only other double-double came in the final game of last season, a 12-point, 12-rebound effort against Miami in the third round of the NCAA Tournament.
6. The Illini outrebounded the Hornets 52-28, a +24 advantage, which eclipsed UI's top rebounding advantage from last season (+22 vs. USC, 11/19/12). It also marked the first time Illinois had 50-plus rebounds since grabbing 50 boards at Michigan on 2/23/10.
7. Illinois dominated the offensive glass, notching a 22-2 edge in second-chance points thanks to 20 offensive rebounds.
8. All 11 available Illini scored in tonight's game, including seven players who made their UI debuts: Rayvonte Rice (22 points), Malcolm Hill (7), Austin Colbert (4), Kendrick Nunn (2), Maverick Morgan (2), Jaylon Tate (2) and Jon Ekey (2).
9. The Illini struggled from distance, finishing 4-of-20 (20 percent) from beyond the arc, but connected on 24-of-41 (58.5 percent) on two-pointers.