Illini Chop Down Sycamores

Illinois uses hot start, strong close, to dismantle Indiana State in Vegas as five Illini players finish in double figures.

Illinois hopes whatever happens in Vegas carries over to the rest of their season, or at least what happened against Indiana State as the Illini continued their early season roll to move to 5-0 on the year with an 88-62 win over the Sycamores.

Rayvonte Rice led all scorers with 21 points to go along with 7 rebounds. Malcolm Hill added 17 points and 8 rebounds to continue his streak of strong performances early in his sophomore campaign. Other Illini in double-figures included Kendrick Nunn, Aaron Cosby, and Nnanna Egwu, who all finished with 10 points each.

Illinois started the game off red hot, racing out to a 20-6 lead in the first five minutes of the game, and for the most part, the Illini never looked back, keeping the heat on the Sycamores the remainder of the game.

Indiana State guard Grant Prusator caught fire in the second half, netting a total of 17 points off the bench and giving Illinois fits in the early-mid 2nd half, however the Orange and Blue weathered the hot streak and were able to put ISU away by 26 when the clock hit zero.

Things got chippy between the two teams early in the second half as Indiana State's Justin Gant shoved Illinois freshman Leron Black out of frustration and drew a technical. Illinois' Egwu got in between the two and broke up the altercation, somehow earning himself a technical and his fourth personal foul at the same time.

However, Illinois overcame the foul trouble of their bigs with high percentage shooting from outside (45%) and a strong night on the offensive boards (13). Overall, Illinois out-rebounded the Sycamores 46-33. The Illini also held a significant edge from the charity stripe, shooting 23-28 from the line for an 82% mark compared to 16-29 for the Sycamores (55%).

The Illini have defeated their five opponents this year by an average of 31 points per game, including a 58-point win over Coppin State.

Illinois now heads into a matchup against either Memphis or Baylor, depending on the outcome of the night game in Vegas.


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