Three Stars: Illinois vs. McKendree

Three Illini who helped Jon Ekey and the team prevail against McKendree.

Other than Player of the Game Jon Ekey, here's who else starred for the Illini in Thursday's 101-66 win against McKendree.

Tracy Abrams

The junior combo guard returned from an early ankle injury, scoring a game-high 16 points in only 19 minutes of action, adding three assists, three rebounds and one steal. Abrams looked like a lead guard in charge at times while also enjoying some time at the 2-guard spot depending on the lineup on the court.

"Tracy wants to be good," Coach John Groce said. "He cares at a high level. He's a great kid."

Rayvonte Rice

The junior bruiser let the game come to him and didn't make unnecessary moves or take questionable shots. Rice had 13 points on 4-of-8 shooting and converted five of his eight free throws. Most of his points came on strong, aggressive takes to the basket. He did so within the flow of the offense and under control.

Jaylon Tate

The freshman played with poise during his 25 minutes on the court. Tate finished with 13 points (six of eight from the free throw line) and three assists to two turnovers. It's early yet, but Tate had a good first outing in his role as the backup point guard.

"I felt like he played pretty good," Abrams said. "He looked real comfortable out there. Obviously there's always room for improvement, but Jaylon, he did pretty good out there."

Added Groce: "I will say he's got an ability to lead and communicate. … He loves to learn, student of the game, makes good decisions. He's accepted his role."

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