Men's Basketball
Game 14 Notes & Links: Illinois vs. Indiana

Tyler Griffey's last-second lay-up gave the Illini a thrilling win over IU in their last trip to SFC.
Tyler Griffey's last-second lay-up gave the Illini a thrilling win over IU in their last trip to SFC.

 Game 14: Illinois (11-2, 0-0) vs. Indiana (10-3, 0-0)
 When Tuesday, Dec. 31, 2013 | 2 p.m. CT
 Location Champaign, Ill. | State Farm Center (16,618) | Fan Guide | Parking Map
 Tickets Single-game Tickets | Seating Chart
 Promotions Basketball Promotions | Alexandria Aces
 Television ESPN2 (Dave O'Brien, PBP and Dan Dakich, analyst)
 Watch Online
 Listen Illini Sports Network | Listen (All-Access) | Sirius 93 / XM 192
 Live Stats Gametracker | Mobile Stats
 Printable Game Notes Illinois | Indiana | Big Ten
 Season Stats Illinois | Indiana | Big Ten
 Preview Interviews Groce Press Conference | Rayvonte Rice | Tracy Abrams | Nnanna Egwu
 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. 12.7 4.1 3.2 18.0 ppg & 17-of-21 FT in last 3 games
G 24 Rayvonte Rice 6-4 235 r-Jr. 18.2 5.5 1.9 B1G Co-POW after 28 pts vs. UIC
G 2 Joseph Bertrand 6-6 200 r-Sr. 10.8 5.3 1.1 Shooting 55.6% from three this season
F 33 Jon Ekey 6-7 225 Gr. 8.5 6.0 0.2 Leads team in reboundng and made threes
F/C 32 Nnanna Egwu 6-11 250 Jr. 8.5 6.0 0.2 Third in B1G with 2.2 blocks/game
 Off the Bench
Pos. No. Name Ht. Wt. Yr. PPG RPG APG Note
G 1 Jaylon Tate 6-3 160 Fr. 2.6 0.9 3.0 3.5 assist/to ratio ranks 14th in nation
G 10 Mike LaTulip 6-1 170 So. 1.4 0.4 0.3 3-5 3FG
G 21 Malcolm Hill 6-6 210 Fr. 3.2 2.3 0.6 Top scorer off bench for Illini
C 22 Maverick Morgan 610 250 Fr. 1.5 1.4 0.2 Shooting 53.3 percent from field
G 25 Kendrick Nunn 6-3 180 Fr. 2.9 1.2 0.7 Six steals in the last three games off bench
F 31 Austin Colbert 6-9 210 Fr. 2.1 1.1 0.3 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. 30, 2013

Coaching Staff
Head Coach: John Groce
Career Record: 119-71/.626 (6th year)
At Illinois: 34-15/.694 (2nd year)
Big Ten: 8-10/.444
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. Indiana
Series Record: Indiana leads 85-84
Series Streak: Indiana W-1
Record at Champaign: Illinois leads 50-31
Series Streak at Champaign: Illinois W-4
Last Year's Meetings: ILL 74, #1 IND 72, 2/7//13 at Champaign & #3 IND 80, ILL 64, 3/15/13 at BTT
Groce vs. Indiana: 1-1

Illini in Big Ten Openers
A charter member of the conference, Illinois opens its 109th season of Big Ten basketball on Tuesday ... Illinois is 66-42 all-time in Big Ten openers ... Illinois has won 11 of its last 14 league openers ... The Illini are 43-17 when beginning conference play at home, and 22-5 at State Farm Center in conference openers.

Illini-Hoosiers Notes
Illinois ranks second in the Big Ten in scoring defense (60.6 ppg), while Indiana is third in the league in scoring offense (82.2 ppg) ... Both teams are in the top 25 in KenPom's latest defensive efficiency rankings, with the Illini 25th (94.5) and Hoosiers 23rd (94.1) ... Indiana gets to the free throw line with regularity, ranked 16th in the nation in free throw rate (54.7). Illinois, however, has limited opponent opportunities at the line, ranking 10th nationally in defensive free throw rate (27.3) ... Illinois has won four straight at home vs. Indiana, and 10 of the last 11 over the Hoosiers in Champaign ... Two of Illinois' last three home wins over IU have been at the buzzer. In addition to Tyler Griffey's layup last season to topple the No. 1-ranked Hoosiers, Demetri McCamey hit a runner just outside the lane as the game clock expired to knock off the Hoosiers, 72-70, on Jan. 30, 2010.

Looking Back at Last Year's Indiana Games:

• Illinois 74, #1 Indiana 72 // Feb. 7, 2013 at Champaign, Ill.
In one of the most thrilling comebacks of the college basketball season, Illinois knocked off the No. 1 team in the country for the third time in school history with a 74-72 victory over top-ranked Indiana. The Hoosiers showed why they carried the No. 1 billing, running efficient offense throughout the game and answering every run the Illini made. Indiana broke ahead from a 13-all tie at the 10-minute mark of the first half and maintained its lead from that point until the end. Illinois trailed by as many as 14 points on three occasions and still trailed 70-61 with 3:33 remaining.

That's when Illinois made its charge, closing the game on a 13-2 run. After a Brandon Paul free throw cut it to eight, D.J. Richardson rattled off eight straight points on a pair of 3-pointers and a step-back 19-footer that tied the game at 70 with 1:19 left. Victor Oladipo put Indiana back up by two with a layup, the Hoosiers' only basket in the game's final five minutes. Paul then hit a pair of free throws to tie it at 72 and set up the exciting final series. Indiana held for the last shot, but Oladipo lost control of the ball and Richardson picked it up and raced down court and attempted a layup that Oladipo blocked out of bounds.

The Illini were out of timeouts with only nine-tenths of a second remaining. Paul was the inbounder and he took his time surveying the court before Tyler Griffey broke free cutting toward the basket. Paul threw a bounce pass into the empty lane where Griffey caught it in stride and made the uncontested layup. The horn sounded as the ball went through the net, and the Orange Krush poured onto the court to celebrate.

Richardson led the Illini with a game-high 23 points, while Paul added 21 and Griffey 14.

The Last Meeting
Indiana (Quarterfinals)80
March 15, 2013
United Center, Chicago
Illinois Falls to No. 3 Indiana in Big Ten Tourney
Tracy Abrams and Brandon Paul led Illinois with 16 points each to lead the Illini, who fell to No. 3 Indiana, 80-64, Friday in the Big Ten quarterfinals. Highlights | Box Score | Printable Box | Photos |

• #3 Indiana 80, Illinois 64 // March 15, 2013 at Chicago, Ill.
Illinois' Big Ten Tournament run came to an end in the quarterfinals against No. 1-seed Indiana, with the Hoosiers claiming an 80-64 at the United Center. The Illini played two contrasting halves, managing just 21 points in the opening period, then erupting for 43 points after intermission. But when the offense got going, the Illini defense was unable to slow down the Hoosiers' offense.

Illinois faced a 14-point deficit at the half after shooting 7-for-27 in the first 20 minutes. The Illini more than doubled their scoring output in the second half, shooting 13-of-31 for 42 percent accuracy. But it seemed that every time the Illini would cut the deficit to 10, the Hoosiers answered with a basket. The Illini cut the deficit to eight points (60-52) at the 8-minute mark, but could get no closer down the stretch.

Brandon Paul and Tracy Abrams led the Illini with 16 points apiece while Joseph Bertrand scored in double figures for the first time in 11 games, adding 10 points.

Current Illini vs. Indiana:

Tracy Abrams (3 G): 8.0 ppg (24), 2.3 rpg (7), 2.3 apg (7)
Highlight: Team-high 16 points with four rebounds in last year's Big Ten Tournament quarterfinal.

Joseph Bertrand (4 G): 5.8 ppg (23), 2.0 rpg (8)
Highlight: 10 points off bench in last year's in Big Ten Tournament quarterfinal.

Nnanna Egwu (3 G): 2.3 ppg (7), 3.3 rpg (10), 1.7 bpg (5)
Highlight: Four blocked shots in last year's Big Ten Tournament quarterfinal.

Rice Earns Second Big Ten Weekly Honor
Junior guard Rayvonte Rice is the reigning Big Ten Co-Player of the Week, sharing the award with Michigan State's Keith Appling. Rice earns the honor after pouring in a season-high 28 points to go along with a team-high seven rebounds and three assists in Illinois' comeback win over UIC at the United Center. Rice shot 10-of-16 from the field and made three 3-pointers in five attempts. He scored 16 in the second half alone en route to his fifth 20-point performance of the season.

This is the second Big Ten weekly award for Rice, following his recognition on Dec. 2.

Illini Items
• Illinois returns to State Farm Center for the first time in three weeks, hosting Indiana in the Big Ten opener. The Illini wrapped up non-conference action by playing five of its final six games away from home.

• The Illini are hosting a game on New Year's Eve for the first time in 31 years, since defeating Loyola-Chicago, 73-72, on Dec. 31, 1982.

• Illinois is 24-3 in regular season non-conference play under Coach John Groce, adding this year's 11-2 record to last season's 13-1 mark. It is the best two-year run for the Illini prior to Big Ten play since combining for a 26-3 mark in 2005-06 (14-0) and 2006-07 (12-3).

• Illinois fought back from a 13 point deficit - its largest of the season - to defeat UIC, 74-60, Saturday at the United Center. It marked the third game this season, and seventh time in two years under Groce, that Illinois has won after trailing by double digits.

• Illinois is 7-0 this season when scoring at least 70 points, and 21-2 overall under Groce when reaching the 70-point marker.

• Following the 65-64 victory over Missouri (Dec. 21), Illinois improved to 3-0 this season in games decided by one or two points, and 8-0 overall under Groce.

• The Illini are allowing an average of just 60.6 points per game (second in Big Ten, 14th in NCAA) on 40.2 percent shooting (fifth in Big Ten, 61st in NCAA).

• Illinois stands out in a number of defensive categories, ranking 25 nationally in defensive efficiency (94.5), 43rd in defensive 2-point percentage (43.3) and 10th in defensive free throw rate (27.3).

• Oregon is the only 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.

• After holding Oregon 20 points below its season scoring average, the Illini then held Missouri 15 points below its season average.

• The starting five has clearly carried the scoring load, combining for 81.9 percent of Illinois' points on the season (758 of 926).

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

• The Big Ten's No. 2 scorer with an 18.2-point average, Rice has averaged 19.9 points (159) over the last eight games, led by a season-high 28 points against UIC on Saturday.

• Rice now has five 20-plus point games this year.

• Rice is shooting 59.6 percent on 2-pointers this season (65-109).

• 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.

Tracy Abrams is averaging 18.0 points over the last three games (54). It is the highest total of his career over three consecutive games, toppling the 52 he combined for last season against Auburn, Purdue and Ohio State (Dec. 29-Jan. 5).

• Over the three-game stretch, Abrams is shooting 50 percent on 2-pointers (14-28) and 81 percent on free throws (17-21) and averaging 5.7 points alone at the line.

• Abrams' season-high 22-point effort against Missouri marked his first 20-point game since tallying a career-best 27 points against Auburn last year at the United Center (Dec. 29, 2012).

• Abrams has shot 28 free throws over the last four games, including 10 attempts against Missouri, the most by an Illini this season.

Joseph Bertrand has shot 50 percent or better in each of the last seven games. Over that stretch, Bertrand is shooting 56.3 percent from the field (27-48).

• Bertrand is shooting 55.6 percent from 3-point range this season (10-18) after entering his senior season as a career 31.3 percent shooter from behind the arc (20-64).

Jon Ekey collected his 500th career rebound versus Oregon on Dec. 14, becoming one of just six active Big Ten players with 500 boards (current total of 510 includes his last three years at Illinois State).

Nnanna Egwu, the Big Ten's No. 3 shot blocker, has recorded at least two blocks in 11 of 13 games this year.

• Freshman Jaylon Tate ranks second in the Big Ten and 12th in the NCAA with an assist/turnover ratio of 3.5 (39 assists, 11 turnovers).

• Freshman Kendrick Nunn's playing time has increased lately, averaging 17.3 minutes over the last three games (52). Nunn has made an impact on the defensive end, combining for six steals during the three-game stretch, led by a game-high three steals vs. Missouri.

Last Time Out: Illini Conclude Non-Conference Play with 74-60 Win Over UIC (Dec. 28)
Illinois responded from its largest deficit of the season with a dominating second-half performance to close out non-conference play with a victory over UIC at the United Center.

The Illini trailed by as many as 13 points in the first half and went in to the locker room down by 10, equaling the UNLV game for the UI's largest halftime deficit. The Flames led 44-34 after torching the nets with 62 percent shooting and 7-of-12 from 3-point range.

But the Illini roared back after intermission, scoring the first eight points in just 1:04, and extending that to a 31-11 run to take a 65-55 lead midway through the second half. Illinois ended up outscoring UIC 40-16 in the second half, with the Flames' 16 points marking the fewest allowed by the Illini defense in a half this season.

The Illini came back from a double-digit deficit to win for the third time this season, and seventh time in two seasons under Groce.

Rayvonte Rice has his best performance yet in an Illini uniform, scoring a season-high 28 points, including 16 in the second half during the UI comeback. He just missed his collegiate career high of 29 set in 2011 at Drake. Rice also led the Illini with seven rebounds and took over on defense as well. After UIC's Kelsey Barlow had 18 first-half points, Rice defended Barlow in the second half and limited him to three points on 1-of-7 shooting.

Tracy Abrams had 16 points and four assists while Joseph Bertrand added 14 points and five boards.

Five on the Starting Five

Rayvonte Rice
1. Offensive rating of 124.9 ranks ninth nationally among players with at least 24 percent of possessions used.
2. Big Ten's second-leading scorer with average of 18.2 points.
3. Scored at least 12 points in all 13 games, with five 20-plus point performances.
4. First Illini newcomer to score in double figures in first 13 games since Kenny Battle in 1987-88.
5. When including stats from two years at Drake, topped 1,200 points for his career Saturday vs. UIC (1,220).

Tracy Abrams
1. Second on the team in scoring at 12.7 ppg, the best scoring average of his career (10.6 ppg last year).
2. Leads team with 69 free throw attempts, showing a free throw rate 49.3 percent.
3. One shy of the team lead in steals (1.2 spg).
4. Scored in double figures in last three games and five of last seven, led by season-high 22 points vs. Missouri.
5. Illini's active career scoring leader with 682 points.

Joseph Bertrand
1. Team's third-leading scorer is averaging double figures for first time, a career-best 10.8 points.
2. Also has improved his rebounding, averaging career-best 5.3 boards this season.
3. Shooting 54.1 percent from the field, ranking eighth in the Big Ten.
4. Shooting 55.6 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 8.5 points.
2. Knocked down 27 threes in 13 games after making a total of 31 treys in 33 games last season at ISU.
3. Average of 2.1 threes per game ranks seventh in Big Ten.
4. Illini's leading rebounder with average of 6.0 boards.
5. Also team's best offensive rebounder, ranking 10th in league with average of 2.2 per game.

Nnanna Egwu
1. Illini's fifth-leading scorer with career-best 8.0-point average.
2. Big Ten's No. 3 shot blocker is averaging 2.2 blocks, up from average of 1.4 blocks last season.
3. Expanded his range to the arc this season, making five 3-pointers after only one trey in first two seasons.
4. Seven rebounds Saturday vs. UIC were his most in the last six games.
5. Started 50 of Illinois' last 53 games dating back to the end of his freshman campaign.

Holiday Big Ten Mini-Pack Tickets Still On Sale
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 or by calling the Illinois Ticket Office at 1-866-Illini-1.

Complete Illinois-Indiana Game Notes (PDF)