Men's Basketball
Braggin' Rights Notes & Links: Illinois vs. #23 Mizzou

Joseph Bertrand has come up big in the last two Braggin' Rights games.
Joseph Bertrand has come up big in the last two Braggin' Rights games.

 Game 12: Illinois (9-2) vs. No. 23 Missouri (10-0) // 33rd Annual Bud Light Braggin' Rights
 When Saturday, Dec. 21, 2013 | 4:30 p.m. CST
 Location St. Louis, Mo. | Scottrade Center (22,153) | Illinois Sections 103-115
 Tickets Sold Out
 Television ESPN2 (Dave O'Brien, PBP & Jimmy Dykes, analyst)
 Watch Online
 Listen Illini Sports Network | Listen (All-Access) | Sirius 112 / XM 191
 Live Stats Gametracker
 Printable Game Notes Illinois | Mizzou | Big Ten
 Season Stats Illinois | Mizzou | Big Ten
 Preview Interviews Groce Press Conference | Tracy Abrams | Jon Ekey | Malcolm Hill
 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. 11.5 4.0 3.4 14.0 ppg, 4.7 apg in last three
G 24 Rayvonte Rice 6-4 235 r-Jr. 17.7 5.5 1.9 Scored 12+ points in every game as Illini
G 2 Joseph Bertrand 6-6 200 r-Sr. 10.7 5.3 1.1 16.0 ppg, 70% FG in last 2 BR games
F 33 Jon Ekey 6-7 225 Gr. 9.2 6.4 0.3 2.3 made threes/game is 4th in B1G
F/C 32 Nnanna Egwu 6-11 250 Jr. 8.3 5.4 0.3 12 p, 9 r in last year's Braggin' Rights game
 Off the Bench
Pos. No. Name Ht. Wt. Yr. PPG RPG APG Note
G 1 Jaylon Tate 6-3 160 Fr. 2.7 1.1 3.5 3.5 assist/to ratio ranks 2nd in B1G
G 10 Mike LaTulip 6-1 170 So. 1.3 0.4 0.3 3-5 3FG
G 21 Malcolm Hill 6-6 210 Fr. 3.8 2.7 0.7 2013 STL Post-Dispatch High School POY
C 22 Maverick Morgan 610 250 Fr. 18 1.5 0.1 Shooting 53.3 percent from field
G 25 Kendrick Nunn 6-3 180 Fr. 2.8 1.1 0.6 Simeon grad wears 25 to honor Ben Wilson
F 31 Austin Colbert 6-9 210 Fr. 2.3 1.1 0.2 Shooting 55 percent from the field
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
 * 2012-13 stats at former school

Dec. 19, 2013

Coaching Staff
Head Coach: John Groce
Career Record: 117-71/.622 (6th year)
At Illinois: 32-15/.681 (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. Missouri
Series Record: Illinois leads 27-16
Record at St. Louis: Illinois leads 20-12
Last Meeting:  #12 Missouri 82, #10 Illinois 73 (Dec. 22, 2012 // St. Louis)
Series Streak: Missouri W-4
Groce vs. Missouri: 0-1

The Last Meeting
December 22, 2012
St. Louis, Mo.
No. 10 Illinois Slips to No. 12 Missouri, 82-73
Brandon Paul led the Illini with 23 points, but it wasn't enough as No. 12 Missouri beat No. 10 Illinois 82-73 Saturday in the annual Braggin' Rights. Highlights | Box Score | Printable Box | Photos |

Braggin' Rights Notes
• Saturday marks the 33rd annual Bud Light Braggin' Rights, with Illinois owning a 20-12 advantage over Missouri in the annual rivalry game played in downtown St. Louis.

• Illinois won eight consecutive Braggin' Rights from 1983-90 and won nine of the first 10 games in St. Louis. After Missouri won seven of nine games from 1991-99, Illinois won nine in a row from 2000-08, the longest winning streak in the history of the series. Mizzou has now won four straight heading into Saturday's contest, equaling the Tigers' longest Braggin' Rights win streak.

• Illinois is unranked entering Braggin' Rights for the first time in four years. The Illini are 7-6 in the series when unranked.

• Illinois is facing a ranked Missouri squad for the fourth straight year. Illinois is 9-6 when playing against ranked Tigers teams in the Braggin' Rights.

• Illinois has one St. Louis area product on its roster in freshman guard Malcolm Hill (Belleville, Ill). Hill was the 2013 St. Louis Post-Dispatch All-Metro Player of the Year and the all-time leading scorer at Belleville East H.S. (2,067 points).

Braggin' Rights Breakdown
Series Record: Illinois leads 20-12
Current Streak: Missouri, W-4
Illinois when ranked: 13-6
Missouri when ranked: 6-9
When both teams are ranked: Illinois leads 6-3
When neither team is ranked: Illinois leads 5-2
In overtime games: Tied 2-2
At Scottrade Center: Illinois leads 11-8
At The Arena: Illinois led 9-4
Illinois' longest winning streak: 9 (2000-08)
Missouri's longest winning streak: 4, twice (1991-94 & 2009-12)
Illinois' largest winning margin: 32 points (2005)
Missouri's largest winning margin: 18 points (1994)
Closest margin: 1 point, four times (1992, 1993, 2003 and 2007)

Past Braggin' Rights Games in St. Louis

Dec. 10, 1980	Illinois 84, #14 Missouri 62
Dec. 8, 1981	#13 Missouri 78, Illinois 68 (OT)
Dec. 28, 1983	#20 Illinois 66, Missouri 60
Dec. 6, 1984	#7 Illinois 65, Missouri 50
Dec. 21, 1985	#15 Illinois 67, Missouri 55
Dec. 23, 1986	#9 Illinois 92, Missouri 74
Dec. 22, 1987	Illinois 75, #17 Missouri 63
Dec. 19, 1988	#5 Illinois 87, #10 Missouri 84
Dec. 20, 1989	#5 Illinois 101, #4 Missouri 93
Dec. 19, 1990	Illinois 84, Missouri 81
Dec. 23, 1991	#16 Missouri 61, Illinois 44
Dec. 23, 1992	Missouri 66, Illinois 65
Dec. 22, 1993	Missouri 108, #19 Illinois 107 (3OT)
Dec. 22, 1994	Missouri 76, #23 Illinois 58
Dec. 20, 1995	#14 Illinois 96, #15 Missouri 85 (OT)
Dec. 28, 1996	Illinois 85, Missouri 69
Dec. 23, 1997	Missouri 75, Illinois 69
Dec. 22, 1998	#15 Missouri 67, Illinois 62
Dec. 21, 1999	Missouri 78, #15 Illinois 72
Dec. 21, 2000	#5 Illinois 86, Missouri 81 (OT)
Dec. 22, 2001	#9 Illinois 72, #8 Missouri 61
Dec. 21, 2002	#12 Illinois 85, #11 Missouri 70
Dec. 23, 2003	#21 Illinois 71, #11 Missouri 70
Dec. 22, 2004	#1 Illinois 70, Missouri 64
Dec. 21, 2005	#6 Illinois 82, Missouri 50
Dec. 19, 2006	Illinois 73, Missouri 70
Dec. 22, 2007	Illinois 59, Missouri 58
Dec. 23, 2008	Illinois 75, #25 Missouri 59
Dec. 23, 2009	Missouri 81, Illinois 68
Dec. 22, 2010	#9 Missouri 75, #21 Illinois 64
Dec. 22, 2011	#8 Missouri 78, #25 Illinois 74
Dec. 22, 2012	#12 Missouri 82, #10 Illinois 73

Current Illini With Braggin' Rights Experience
Three players on the current UI roster have played in the Braggin' Rights: senior guard Joseph Bertrand, junior guard Tracy Abrams and junior center Nnanna Egwu.

Bertrand did not play as a freshman but had his coming out party as a sophomore, leading the Illini with 19 points on perfect 9-of-9 shooting and adding five rebounds. He was a spark off the bench again last year, totaling 13 points and three boards.

Abrams played just 12 minutes as a freshman and started last year but was limited to 19 minutes due to foul trouble, finishing with four points and five rebounds.

Egwu played just three minutes as a freshman but then started last year's game, just missing a double-double with 12 points and team-high nine boards.

Countdown to 1,700
With an all-time record of 1,699-910, Illinois stands just one win away from collecting its 1,700th victory, aiming to become the 13th program in NCAA Div. I history to reach that milestone. Illinois is the 11th-winningest program in NCAA history by percentage, meanwhile, with a 65.1 all-time winning percentage.

Taking on Another Ranked Opponent
Illinois faces its second straight ranked opponent this season in No. 23 Missouri. Last time out, the Illini dropped a 71-64 decision to No. 15 Oregon in Portland.

The Illini have lost five straight versus Top-25 teams, with the most recent win coming last season at No. 18 Minnesota, 57-53, on Feb. 10, 2013.

Illinois' last victory over a Top-25 opponent in non-conference play occurred last season as well, at No. 10 Gonzaga, 85-74, on Dec. 8, 2012.

Illinois' last win against a ranked Missouri team also was its last victory in the Braggin' Rights series, a 75-59 win over the No. 25 Tigers on Dec. 23, 2008.

Illinois is 4-8 against ranked opponents under Groce.

Transfers Provide Scoring Punch to Illini and Tigers
The leading scorers for both the Fighting Illini and Missouri Tigers are transfers who are in their first seasons after sitting out last year.

Junior Rayvonte Rice, who joined the Orange and Blue after two seasons at Drake, leads the Illini and ranks fourth in the Big Ten with an average of 17.7 points. Rice has scored at least 12 points in every game this year with four performances of 20-plus points.

Junior Jordan Clarkson joined the Tigers after two seasons at Tulsa. He leads Mizzou and ranks third in the SEC in scoring with an average of 19.4 points. Clarkson also has tallied at least 12 points in each game this year and has six outings of 20-plus points.

Missouri's top three scorers overall are transfers, with Jabari Brown (formerly of Oregon) averaging 19.0 points and Earnest Ross (previously at Auburn) averaging 14.2 points. Jon Ekey (graduate addition from Illinois State) is fourth on the Illini in scoring with an average of 9.2 points, leading transfers to account for two of the UI's top four scorers.

Illini Items
• Illinois is playing six of its final eight non-conference games away from home prior to the Big Ten opener against Indiana on Dec. 31 at State Farm Center.

• Illinois accumulated nearly 8,500 miles crisscrossing the country over the last three weeks in flights to Las Vegas, Atlanta (twice) and Portland.

• Illinois is 6-0 this season when scoring at least 70 points, and 20-2 overall under Coach John Groce when reaching the 70-point marker.

• The Illini are allowing an average of just 60.4 points per game (second in Big Ten, 13th in NCAA) on 39.3 percent shooting (fifth in Big Ten, 44th in NCAA).

• Illinois stands out in a number of defensive categories, ranking 25th nationally in defensive efficiency (94.8), 36th in defensive effective field goal percentage (44.4), 33rd in defensive 2-point percentage (42.6) and seventh in defensive free throw rate (27.4).

• Oregon was the first team to reach the 70-point marker against the Illini this season. The UI had held each of its first 10 opponents to less than 70 points, accomplishing the feat for the first time in eight years, since the 2005-06 UI squad did so in the first 16 games.

• Illinois has rebounded 37.1 percent of its misses, ranking 48th in the nation in offensive rebound percentage.

• The starting five has clearly carried the scoring load, combining for 80.3 percent of Illinois' points on the season (632 of 787).

• Junior transfer Rayvonte Rice is the first Illini newcomer to score in double figures in each of his first 11 games since Kenny Battle did so in his first 13 games in 1987-88, also as a junior transfer (Northern Illinois).

• Rice has led the Illini in scoring in each of the last six games, averaging 19.5 points (117) on 50.5 percent shooting (43-85).

• Rice also is shooting 40 percent from 3-point range over the last six games (12-30), after shooting 22.7 percent behind the arc over the first five games (5-22).

• Rice is shooting 59.3 percent on 2-pointers this season (54-91).

• Rice is one of only two Big Ten players to score at least 12 points in every game this year, along with Penn State's D.J. Newbill.

Jon Ekey has scored in double figures in each of the last three games, averaging 11.7 points (35) on 50 percent shooting both from the field (11-22) and 3-point range (9-18). In his previous three games, Ekey combined for just 13 points on 5-of-19 shooting, and 3-of-15 from three.

• Ekey collected his 500th career rebound Saturday versus Oregon, becoming one of just six active Big Ten players with 500 boards (current total of 502 includes his last three years at Illinois State).

Tracy Abrams led the Illini in scoring against Oregon with 16 points (tied for team lead with Rice). It marked the first time that Abrams - the UI's leading returning scorer - has been the team's top scorer in a game this year.

• Abrams' assist numbers have been on the rise lately. He has totaled 14 assists over the last three games, doubling his total of seven assists over the previous three games.

Joseph Bertrand is shooting 57.6 percent from the field over the last five games (19-33), scoring in double figures three times.

• Bertrand is shooting 53.3 percent from 3-point range this season (8-15) after entering his senior season as a career 31.3 percent shooter from behind the arc (20-64).

Nnanna Egwu, the Big Ten's No. 3 shot blocker, has recorded at least two blocks in nine of 11 games this year.

• Freshman Jaylon Tate ranks second in the Big Ten with an assist/turnover ratio of 4.0 (36 assists, 9 turnovers).

Holiday Big Ten Mini-Pack Tickets On Sale Now
Back by popular demand again this holiday season is the Big Ten Mini-Pack. This special offer includes a ticket to three home conference match-ups - Saturday, Jan. 4 vs. Penn State, Wednesday, Jan. 15 vs. Purdue and Saturday, Feb. 1 vs. Iowa - all for a price of just $49. That is a savings of nearly 54 percent off the single-game ticket price. Mini-pack tickets can be purchased online at

In addition to the Big Ten Mini-Pack, tickets are still available for all remaining Illinois home games. Single-game tickets can be purchased online at or by calling the Illinois Ticket Office at 1-866-Illini-1.

Five on the Starting Five

Rayvonte Rice
1. Offensive rating of 126.3 ranks 11th nationally among players with at least 24 percent of possessions used.
2. Big Ten's fourth-leading scorer with average of 17.7 points.
3. Scored at least 12 points in all 11 games, with four 20-plus point performances.
4. First Illini newcomer to score in double figures in first 11 games since Kenny Battle in 1987-88.
5. When including stats from two years at Drake, is only 22 points away from 1,200 for his career (1,178).

Tracy Abrams
1. Second on the team in scoring at 11.5 ppg, the best scoring average of his career (10.6 ppg last year).
2. Leads team with 53 free throw attempts, showing a free throw rate of nearly 47 percent.
3. Tied for team lead in steals (1.3 spg).
4. Scored in double figures in three of last five games.
5. Illini's active career scoring leader with 644 points.

Joseph Bertrand
1. Team's third-leading scorer is averaging double figures for first time, a career-best 10.7 points.
2. Also has improved his rebounding, averaging career-best 5.3 boards this season.
3. Shooting 54.2 percent from the field, ranking eighth in the Big Ten.
4. Shooting 53.3 percent from 3-point range after entering season as career 31.3 percent 3-point shooter.
5. Illinois' lone scholarship senior to play entire career with the Orange and Blue.

Jon Ekey
1. Graduate transfer from Illinois State ranks fourth on the team in scoring, averaging 9.2 points.
2. Knocked down 25 threes in 11 games after making a total of 31 treys in 33 games last season at ISU.
3. Average of 2.3 threes per game ranks fourth in Big Ten.
4. Illini's leading rebounder with average of 6.4 boards.
5. Also team's best offensive rebounder, ranking ninth in league with average of 2.4 per game.

Nnanna Egwu
1. Illini's fifth-leading scorer with career-best 8.3-point average.
2. Big Ten's No. 3 shot blocker is averaging 2.3 blocks, up from average of 1.4 blocks last season.
3. Expanded his range to the arc this season, making three 3-pointers after only 1 trey in first two seasons.
4. Shooting 58.3 percent from the field over the last three games.
5. Started 48 of Illinois' last 51 games dating back to the end of his freshman campaign.

Complete Illinois-Mizzou Braggin' Rights Game Notes (PDF)