Men's Basketball
Braggin' Rights Postgame Notes - Illinois vs. Mizzou - December 21, 2013

Rayvonte Rice has scored at least 12 points in every game this season.
Rayvonte Rice has scored at least 12 points in every game this season.

Dec. 22, 2013

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Illinois Braggin' Rights Postgame Notes

Illinois 65, No. 23/25 Missouri 64
Scottrade Center, St. Louis, Mo. // Dec. 21, 2013 // Attendance: 21,987

 1. With the win, Illinois improved to 10-2 on the season and became the 13th program in NCAA history to reach the 1,700-win milestone. The Fighting Illini have an all-time mark of 1,700-910 (.651), good for the 11th-best winning percentage in NCAA history. The Illini are second in Big Ten history in all-time victories, behind only Indiana's 1,727 (as of 12/21/13).

2. Illinois improved to 21-12 all-time in the Braggin' Rights series and snapped a string of four-straight losses to Missouri in the annual rivalry game.

3. The win was the Illini's first against a ranked opponent this season and snapped a five-game losing streak to teams ranked in the AP top-25 dating back to a 57-53 win at No. 18 Minnesota on Feb. 10, 2013. Illinois is now 5-8 against ranked opponents under John Groce.

4. The victory marked the seventh time Illinois knocked off a ranked Mizzou team in the Braggin' Rights game and the first time since 2008, when an unranked Illini squad defeated the 25th-ranked Tigers 75-59. The Orange and Blue improved to 8-6 in the rivalry series when unranked and 7-9 when playing a ranked Missouri team.

5. As usual, the Braggin' Rights game was a back-and-forth affair. The Illini got off to a shaky start, trailing 15-6 early, but stormed back with a 10-0 run midway through the first half to take the lead, 16-15. It was close the rest of the half with UI taking a 31-27 lead into the break. In the second half, Mizzou went on a 14-2 run to turn a 44-39 deficit into a 53-46 lead. Illinois again stormed back, going on a 9-0 run to re-take the lead, 55-53, with 6:19 left. The teams seesawed back and forth from that point on until the final buzzer sounded.

6. Junior point guard Tracy Abrams hit a pair of free throws with 4.6 seconds left to provide the game-winning points. Abrams had a monster game with a team-high 22 points (14 in the second half) and six rebounds in 26 minutes. Abrams is averaging 16 points per game over the last four games.

7. Junior transfer Rayvonte Rice had 14 points to continue his string of scoring at least 12 points in every game this season. He is the first Illini newcomer to score double figures in each of his first 12 games since Kenny Battle did so in his first 13 games in 1987-88. Battle was also a junior transfer (Northern Illinois)

8. True-freshman guard Kendrick Nunn played a career-high 20 minutes and made a big impact on the defensive end, notching three steals on the night. Nunn also knocked down a three-pointer during the 10-0 first half run and pulled down two rebounds.

9. Six different Illini hit a three-pointer in the first half (Abrams, Bertrand, Egwu, Ekey, Nunn, Rice) as Illinois started off the game 6-of-10 from behind the arc. The Orange and Blue went just 2-of-12 from downtown the rest of the game, but made up for it by attacking and getting to the line. After shooting just three free throws in the first 20 minutes of play (1-of-3), the Illini got to the line 15 times in the second half (10-of-15).

10. The Illini committed six turnovers in the first 6:10 of the game, but corrected their shaky ball-handling and had only five miscues the rest of the way. For the game, Illinois held a 19-13 edge in points off turnovers.