It wasn't a clean game by any means. Just when the Illini started to form a lead (their largest of the game was 6 points), miscues would allow the Tigers (5-6) to climb back into the game, and in some instances later in the game, take the lead.
Illinois' struggles from behind-the-arc continued in this one, as the team finished just 3-of-17 from 3PT range in the game, but of those three, none was more important than the final one, as Rayvonte Rice drained a stepback, fade-away three as time expired in the game.
Despite Missouri committing 14 turnovers to Illinois' 8 as well as the Tigers shooting a higher percentage from the field, the Illini found a way to get the victory in what many considered to be a must-win game.
For Illinois, Rice led the way with 19 points on 7 of 15 shooting from the field (2 of 4 from 3PT) and tied guard Aaron Cosby with a team high 7 rebounds.
Senior transfer Ahmad Starks broke out of his recent slump for 13 points on 6-13 shooting (1 of 7 from 3PT). Malcolm Hill also notched a double-digit scoring total with 10 points but had a tough night on defense.
Missouri's scoring effort was very balanced as a team, led by Jonathan Williams, who finished with 15 and 8. Guard Wes Clark had 11 points but also committed 5 turnovers.
Next up for Illinois is Kennesaw State at the State Farm Center prior to launching into Big Ten play.