Illini Bear Down for Vegas Crown

Illinois grinds out a tough win to move to 6-0 and notch a big victory in Vegas over Baylor

It wasn't pretty, but Illinois got the job done to finish on top in Vegas, downing the Baylor Bears 62-54 and taking home the crown at the Las Vegas Invitational.

Neither team shot the ball particularly well, especially in the first half, but after trailing 25-21 at halftime, the Illini outscored Baylor 41-29 in the second half to gain the edge and the win.

The Illini started off cold from the field, especially from behind the arc, where they missed their first eight three pointers. Though the team still struggled somewhat in the second half, players like Malcolm Hill and Ahmad Starks hit key threes down the stretch to maintain the lead for the Illini.

Rice, who finished with 17 points and 7 rebounds, was named the tournament's MVP. However, Malcolm Hill continues to be impressive and notched another 17 point performance himself to go along with 3 rebounds, but his play in the high post helped open things up for the Illini when navigating the Baylor zone defense.

Illinois again battled foul trouble with their bigs, with four fouls on both Maverick Morgan, who picked up his four in just four minutes of action, and Nnanna Egwu.

As a team, Illinois was out-rebounded 47 to 33 by the Bears, but committed only 5 turnovers on the game compared to 15 for Baylor.

Illinois now heads into another tough matchup against the Miami Hurricanes on Tuesday.

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