Men's Basketball
Big Ten/ACC Challenge Notes: Illinois at Georgia Tech

Bertrand had 15 points in last year's win over Georgia Tech.
Bertrand had 15 points in last year's win over Georgia Tech.

 Game 8: Illinois (7-0) at Georgia Tech (5-3) // Big Ten/ACC Challenge
 When Tuesday, Dec. 3, 2013 | 7:15 p.m. ET/6:15 CT
 Location Atlanta, Ga. | McCamish Pavilion(8,600)
 Tickets Buy Online
 Television ESPN2 (Bob Wischusen, PBP & Len Elmore, analyst)
 Watch Online
 Listen Illini Sports Network | Listen (All-Access) | Sirius 85 / XM 85
 Live Stats Gametracker
 Printable Game Notes Illinois | Georgia Tech | Big Ten
 Season Stats Illinois | Georgia Tech | Big Ten
 Preview Interviews Groce Teleconference | Rayvonte Rice | Joseph Bertrand | Jon Ekey
 Social Media @IlliniHoops   |  #Illini | @IlliniAthletics | Facebook | YouTube

 Illinois Probable Starters (from previous game)
Pos. No. Name Ht. Wt. Yr. PPG RPG APG Note
G 13 Tracy Abrams 6-2 190 Jr. 11.1 4.1 3.0 15 points, 4 steals vs. IPFW
G 24 Rayvonte Rice 6-4 235 r-Jr. 17.1 6.3 1.7 Current B1G Player of Week
G 2 Joseph Bertrand 6-6 200 r-Sr. 11.7 6.6 1.3 15 points vs. GT last year
F 33 Jon Ekey 6-7 225 Gr. 8.7 6.3 0.1 Hitting 40% from downtown
F/C 32 Nnanna Egwu 6-11 250 Jr. 9.1 6.6 0.3 2.6 blocks per game 3rd in B1G
 Off the Bench
Pos. No. Name Ht. Wt. Yr. PPG RPG APG Note
G 1 Jaylon Tate 6-3 160 Fr. 3.1 1.0 3.7 4.3 assist/to ratio 2nd in B1G
G 10 Mike LaTulip 6-1 170 So. 1.5 0.5 0.3 3-4 3FG
G 21 Malcolm Hill 6-6 210 Fr. 3.9 3.4 0.6 26 free throw attempts
C 22 Maverick Morgan 610 250 Fr. 1.6 1.4 0.0 4 blocks
G 25 Kendrick Nunn 6-3 180 Fr. 2.6 1.4 0.7 8 points, 3 assists vs. Bradley
F 31 Austin Colbert 6-9 210 Fr. 2.3 1.7 0.2 3 dunks
G 3 Ahmad Starks 5-9 170 Sr. 10.4 2.0 2.3 Transfer must sit out 2013-14 season
G 11 Aaron Cosby 6-3 195 Jr. 12.6 2.5 3.0 Transfer must sit out 2013-14 season
F 35 Darius Paul 6-8 220 So. 10.4 5.7 1.7 Transfer must sit out 2013-14 season

Dec. 2, 2013

Coaching Staff
Head Coach: John Groce
Career Record: 115-69/.625 (5th year)
At Illinois: 30-13/.698 (2nd year)
Assistant Coaches: Dustin Ford (2nd year), Paris Parham (2nd year), Jamall Walker (2nd year)
Special Assistant to the Head Coach: Ryan Pedon (1st year)

Series Notes vs. Georgia Tech
Series Record: Illinois leads 7-1
Last Meeting:  #22 Illinois 75, Georgia Tech 62 (Nov. 28, 2012 // Champaign)
Series Streak: Illinois W-5
Record at Atlanta: Illinois leads 1-0
Series Streak at Atlanta: Illinois W-1
Groce vs. Georgia Tech: 1-0

2013 BIG TEN/ACC Challenge Schedule (All times listed are Central)

Tuesday, Dec. 3:
#-/23 Indiana (6-1) at #4/5 Syracuse (7-0), 6:15 p.m. (ESPN)
Illinois (7-0) at Georgia Tech (5-3), 6:15 p.m. (ESPN2)
Penn State (6-2) at Pittsburgh (7-0), 6:30 p.m. (ESPNU)
#22/21 Michigan (5-2) at #10/8 Duke (6-2), 8:15 p.m. (ESPN)
Notre Dame (5-1) at #23/24 Iowa (7-1), 8:15 p.m. (ESPN2)
Florida State (5-2) at Minnesota (6-2), 8:30 p.m. (ESPNU)

Wednesday, Dec. 4:
Maryland (5-2) at #5/3 Ohio State (6-0), 6 p.m. (ESPN)
#8/9 Wisconsin (8-0) at Virginia (7-1), 6 p.m. (ESPN2)
Northwestern (4-4) at North Carolina State (4-2), 6:30 p.m. (ESPNU)
#-/25 North Carolina (4-2) at #1/1 Michigan State (7-0), 8 p.m. (ESPN)
Boston College (3-4) at Purdue (6-2), 8 p.m. (ESPN2)
Miami (5-3) at Nebraska (5-2), 8:30 p.m. (ESPNU)

The Last Meeting
Georgia Tech62
November 28, 2012
Assembly Hall
Bertrand's Late Surge Lifts Illinois Over Georgia Tech
Joseph Bertrand made 3-pointers on consecutive possessions and scored every point in a 10-0 run to ignite No. 22 Illinois to a 75-62 victory over Georgia Tech on Wednesday night in an ACC-Big Ten Challenge game.

Illinois By the Numbers in the Big Ten/ACC Challenge
Record: 7-7
Current streak: W-4
At home: 4-2
On the road: 3-2
At neutral sites: 0-3
When ranked: 5-4
When unranked: 2-3
When playing a ranked opponent: 3-5
When playing an unranked opponent: 4-2
When both teams are ranked: 2-4
When neither team is ranked: 1-2
Longest winning streak: 4 (2009-current)
Longest losing streak: 3, twice (1999-2001 & 2006-08)
Largest winning margin: 27 points (2002)
Largest losing margin: 13 points (2001)
Closest margin: 1 point (2000)

Illinois Big Ten/ACC Challenge Notes
• Illinois carries a four-game winning streak in the Challenge, the longest active streak by a team from either conference (tied with Purdue).
• Illinois is 7-7 all-time in the Challenge. The Illini's seven wins are the most by any Big Ten team in Challenge history.
• Illinois is 3-2 on the road in the Challenge, including wins in its last two Challenge trips at Clemson in 2009 and at Maryland 2011.
• The Big Ten and ACC split last year's Challenge, 6-6. The Big Ten retained the Commissioner's Cup however, after having won the three previous Challenges, 8-4 in 2011 and 6-5 in both 2009 and 2010.
• Illinois and Georgia Tech meet Tuesday in a Challenge re-match of last year's 75-62 victory by the Illini in Champaign.
• With last year's victory over Georgia Tech, John Groce became the first Illinois coach to win his first Challenge game. The previous three Illini head coaches all lost their inaugural Challenge contest (Lon Kruger in 1999, Bill Self in 2000 and Bruce Weber in 2003).

Did You Know?
Illinois just wrapped up another undefeated November, marking the third straight season the Illini have not lost in college basketball's opening month of play. Syracuse is the only other NCAA Div. I school to have gone unbeaten in November each of the last three seasons.

Non-Conference Road Success
Following the Nov. 26 victory at UNLV, Illinois has now won its last eight non-conference road games - tied with UMass for the longest active non-conference road winning streak in Div. I. Illinois' streak spans the last five-plus years, dating back to the 2008-09 campaign, and includes win at Vanderbilt (2008), #18 Clemson (2009), Stony Brook (2010), Western Michigan (2010), Maryland (2011), Hawaii (2012), #10 Gonzaga (2012) and UNLV (2013).

That streak will be put to the test on Tuesday, as Illinois plays at Georgia Tech in the UI's final true road game prior to Big Ten play.

Here is a list of the top active non-conference road winning streaks in NCAA Div. I:
Illinois - 8 games - Next: Dec. 3 at Georgia Tech
UMASS - 8 games - Next: Dec. 3 at Eastern Michigan
Minnesota - 7 - Next: none this season
VCU - 7 - Next: Dec. 14 at Northern Iowa
DePaul - 6 - Next: Dec. 22 at Illinois State

Still Unbeaten
At 7-0, the Illini are one of 21 undefeated teams left in Div. I. Four of the remaining unbeatens are in the Big Ten, tied with the Pac-12 to lead all conferences.

Illini Items
• Tuesday's Big Ten/ACC Challenge game at Georgia Tech is the first of two trips to Atlanta this week for the Illini, who return to face Auburn on Sunday at Philips Arena.

• The Georgia Tech game begins a stretch of five out of six games away from home for the Illini to wrap up the non-conference. The UI's lone contest at State Farm Center prior to Big Ten play is Dec. 10 vs. Dartmouth.

• Illinois is attempting to start at least 8-0 for the third consecutive season after winning its first 12 games last year and first 10 games in 2011-12.

• Illinois is 20-1 in regular season non-conference games under Head Coach John Groce.

• Junior transfer Rayvonte Rice is the first Illini newcomer to score in double figures in each of his first seven games since Kiwane Garris did so in his first 10 games as a freshman in 1993-94.

• Illinois ranks fifth nationally in scoring defense, allowing an average of 57 points per game. The Illini are 12th in the nation, meanwhile, in field goal percentage defense at 36.4 percent.

• This is the first time in 66 years that Illinois has held each of its first seven opponents to 63 points or less, since the 1947-48 UI squad did so in the first 13 games.

• The last time Illinois went at least seven straight games at any point in the season without allowing more than 63 points occurred during the 2009 Big Ten campaign, when the Illini accomplished the feat in 12 straight games.

• Illinois has rebounded 42 percent of its misses, ranking 10th in the nation in offensive rebound percentage.

• Illinois has won its last two games by identical two-point margins, the first time the Illini have claimed consecutive games by two points or less since clinching the 2004 Big Ten title with an 81-79 victory at Purdue (March 3) followed by a 64-63 win at Ohio State (March 7).

Rice Earns Big Ten Player of the Week Honors
Rayvonte Rice was named Big Ten Player of the Week on Monday after averaging 21.0 points, 8.0 rebounds and 3.0 steals in a pair of wins over UNLV and IPFW.

Rice registered a season-high 25 points in Illinois' come-from-behind win at UNLV. He scored the game-winner with 28 seconds left, breaking a 59-all tie with a driving lay-up over two UNLV defenders. He did it all against the Rebels, collecting a team-best 10 rebounds to record his first double-double with the Illini to go along with a season-high four steals.

Rice was the game's high scorer for the second straight contest, tallying 17 points in Illinois' comeback win over IPFW. He also had six rebounds and two steals, including one in the closing seconds with the Illini leading by two to preserve the victory.

Cyber Monday Tickets
Illinois has introduced a Cyber Monday ticket special that features tickets for the Dartmouth game on Dec. 10 at State Farm Center for only $5 apiece via the promo code SPECIAL. This offer is available exclusively at

Owning the Glass
The Illini have outrebounded five of seven opponents this season - including four by double digits. Illinois owns a rebound margin of +9.7 on the year, ranking second among Big Ten teams and 20th in the NCAA. Much of that work has been done on the offensive glass. Illinois is averaging an impressive 15.7 offensive boards - ranking second in the conference - and converting an average of 14.4 points per game on second-chance opportunities. The UI's offensive rebound rate of 42 percent ranks 10th nationally.

The Illini have four players collecting more than six rebounds per game, including an average of more than two on the offensive end, led by Joseph Bertrand (6.6 rpg, 2.7 oreb/g) and Nnanna Egwu (6.6 rpg, 2.4 oreb/g), and followed by Jon Ekey (6.3 rpg, 2.9 oreb/g) and Rayvonte Rice (6.3 rpg, 2.6 oreb/g).

Closing Strong
Illinois has been involved in four close games this season entering the final minutes, winning all four while closing the game with decisive runs in three of those four victories.

The Illini led Valparaiso by two - 49-47, with five minutes left before going on a 13-1 run as part of a 15-5 spree to close the game. Illinois led Chicago State by four, - 55-51 with eight to go, before igniting a 22-2 run to end the game that included no CSU field goals. Illinois trailed UNLV by six - 51-57 with six minutes remaining, but closed the game on a 10-2 run and held the Rebels scoreless on their home floor over the final 4:16. And while not as dramatic a run, the Illini also pulled away from IPFW late. Illinois trailed 53-52 with under three to play before rattling off five unanswered points to seal the win. IPFW scored a basket with 1.6 left for its only points in the last 2:58.

Top of the League
Two Illini are near the top of the Big Ten in statistical categories. Freshman Jaylon Tate ranks second in the league with an impressive 4.3 assist-to-turnover ratio. The rookie point guard has registered 26 assists compared to just six turnovers in 131 minutes of action.

Junior Nnanna Egwu is the conference's No. 3 shot blocker, averaging 2.6 per contest. Egwu was fourth in that category a year ago (1.4 bpg) and has picked up the pace this season, totaling 18 blocks through seven games.

Complete Illinois-Georgia Tech Game Notes