Honor Roll: Michigan State Loss

The main Illini contributors in Saturday's loss to Michigan State.

Player of the game: Tracy Abrams

Once again, Abrams had a poor night shooting (3 of 11 from the field), but he did get to the free throw line four times and knocked down all eight of his free shots. He led the team with 15 points and added three assists and three rebounds. Abrams continues to be the obvious leader of the team, barking in the huddle to his teammates and keeping everybody in check. Even Michigan State coach Tom Izzo noticed Abrams' leadership.

"I absolutely love Abrams," Izzo said, who said he told the junior guard after the game how much he enjoyed watching him play.

Three stars next in line:

Jon Ekey

The senior bounced back after a few down games, scoring 12 points on 5-of-10 shooting. He missed four of his six takes from beyond the arc, but Ekey did more work inside on Saturday night. And he converted one of those put-back dunks for a change!

Kendrick Nunn

The freshman logged a career high 29 minutes, continuing his aggressive look on the offensive end with five points and three rebounds. It wasn't always pretty (two turnovers), but Nunn was a boost off the bench, playing good enough defense and bringing some attitude to the floor.

Rayvonte Rice

Rice scored 12 points and had five rebounds, but he still might not be quite 100 percent (adductor strain). The telling stat? He didn't shoot a single free throw. His 5-of-15 clip shooting from the floor isn't ideal, as Izzo said Spartan Denzel Valentine had one of his best defensive games of his career. Following the game, Coach John Groce said Rice was close to full health.

"He's much better. Again, he's been doing treatment a lot, coming in. Ray works. He loves the game and works hard," Groce said.


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