LIVE! O&B Scrimmage

LIVE! O&B Scrimmage

Blue 16, Orange 14 — End of fourth period and OT

The final period went to a one-possession overtime after the score was tied at 14. John Groce tossed the ball up as the officials had left the court.

Maverick Morgan had a chance to end it but missed a bunny. Rayvinte Rice cleaned it up for a Blue win.

It was the lone loss of the night for Groce.

In the final period, the Blue team featured LaTulip, Hill, Cosby, Rice, Morgan, Tate and Colbert. The Orange went with Abrams, Nunn, Bertrand, Ekey, Egwu, Paul and Starks.

Nnanna Egwu resumed his dominance in the final period, highlighted by a tip-in bucket and a couple of blocks. The big man has been a serious bright spot.

Jaylon Tate showed some flashes in that final period, too. He fed Maverick Morgan with a nice no-look pass that resultedin a layup for the big fella.

For the night, Egwu finished with 17 points and six boards. And he only committed three fouls on the night. Rayvonte Rice had 17 points.

Orange 18, Blue 13 — End of third period

In the third period, here were your teams: BLUE: Tate, Nunn, Cosby, Colbert, Paul, Starks and Egwu. ORANGE: Abrams, Hill, Ekey, Morgan, Rice, Bertrand and LaTulip

Jamall Walker and Paris Parham coached the Blue team in the third. John Groce and Dustin Ford had the Orange squad. Groce remained undefeated on the night.

A rough start for both teams in the third. Austin Colbert missed a bunny in transition for the Blue squad and at the other end, Jon Ekey got a steal and missed a dunk. He might have been fouled.

It’s been a rough night for Maverick Morgan. The freshman has been good in practice, but tonight isn’t one of his better showings. After he had a shot blocked midway through the period, Paris Parham stopped him, said a few words and patted Morgan on the backside. Parham is coaching the opposite team. He finally got one to go late.

Rayvonte Rice has scored in every way imaginable tonight. He’s gotten in the lane, scored in the post, hit a three and got to the foul line. He’s a tough matchup.

Malcolm Hill has had a nice night, particularly on the glass. The 6-foot-6 freshman has five rebounds through three periods.

Apparently this was only supposed to go three periods, according to Kent Brown, but we are indeed going to a fourth period.

By the way, the players are signing autographs after this.

Blue 20, Orange 3 — End of second period

The second period Blue team consisted of Egwu, Rice, Hill, Tate, Abrams, Cosby and Paul. They dominated. John Groce’s squads are now 2-0. The Orange didn’t get a field goal until the final minutes when Ahmad Starks connected.

The Orange had Ekey, Bertrand, Nunn, Starks, Morgan, LaTulip and Colbert

The Blue got off to a nice start with Rayvonte Rice winning a battle down low with Kendrick Nunn converting a high-low pass for an alley-oop layup. Nnanna Egwu continued his dominance, scoring in the paint and from the perimeter.

D.J. Richardson checked in on Twitter and called Mike LaTulip the best shooter in the Big Ten.

Jon Ekey passed up what Jeremy Werner and I thought was a wide-open three. Paris Parham agreed and yelled at the former Illinois State Redbird to shoot the ball. Parham coached Ekey at ISU.

The free throw shooting overall has not been good.

Orange 16, Blue 10 — End of first period

The Orange team made it a point to get the ball to Nnanna Egwu in the post whenever they could. The junior big man hit a nice fall-away jumper and then got a layup in the paint on consecutive possessions during the first four minutes.

The Orange team, coached by John Groce and Paris Parham, then went with the twin towers of Egwu and freshman Maverick Morgan. Nnanna was the 4, Maverick was the 5 in that setup.

On the other end, Malcolm Hill showed his gift for scoring by hitting a pretty runner through the lane. He’s got a ways to go, but the talent is there for the young guy.

Maverick Morgan had a nice block against Darius Paul, pinning the shot against the glass. Ray Rice followed that up swatting a Morgan shot in transition on the other end.

Morgan has had a couple of looks, but both shots have been blocked. He didn’t know how wide open he was on either and hesitated. He needs to be decisive and also go up stronger.

Some UI volleyball players are here. They went nuts when Mike LaTulip hit a three late in the period.

I’m guessing about 4,000 here, maybe a little more than that. Not bad.

Ahmad Starks had a real nice quarter. He breaks the defense down easily. Two real nice plays late were impressive.

Orange and Blue Scrimmage — 7 p.m. (WDWS 1400-AM, BTDN)

To start, the Orange team will consist of Tracy Abrams, Mike LaTulip, Jon Ekey, Jaylon Tate, Maverick Morgan and Nnanna Egwu.

Rayvonte Rice, Austin Colbert, Darius Paul, Aaron Cosby, Malcolm Hill, Kendrick Nunn and Ahmad Starks.

Just caught up with recruiting target Aaron Jordan. The 6-foot-4 guard recently attended the Indiana Hoosier Hysteria for an unofficial visit.

“That was a good visit. It was my first time at Indiana and it was impressive,” Jordan said. “It was a good event, it was a real good environment. It was a lot of fun.”

He’s also made a recent visit to Northwestern.

As I told you earlier, Jordan Is rocking his Illinois gear and bright orange Kevin Durant shoes tonight.

“(Illinois) is close to home and I can get down here quick. Any time there’s something going on, I like to be down here,” he said.

Jordan has been dealing mostly with Illinois assistant coach Dustin Ford, the point man on his recruitment.

“It’s a good relationship. He’s always texting me and keeping in touch with me. It’s always good to talk to him,” Jordan said.

Champaign’s Michael Finke is here, too, with his family. Finke is making his official visit this weekend.

By the way, earlier tonight I caught sports information director Derrick Burson singing “Call Me Maybe” as if he was performing it live in front of 40,000 people. “I love that song,” he told me. I didn’t know it was still 2012.

The lower bowl here is pretty close to full and there is a good chunk of folks manning the seats in B section.

They just showed the clip of the game-winning bucket from Brandon Paul to Tyler Griffey from the Indiana game on the video board. There was a smattering of applause.

Brandon Paul’s parents and older brother are here. Younger brother Darius is on the court sweating.

Orange and Blue Scrimmage — 7 p.m. (WDWS 1400-AM, BTDN)

All the players have taken the court and they’re getting up jumpers. Fans are starting to make their way to their seats at the State Farm Center. I’d expect a few thousand here tonight.

Illinois prime recruiting target Aaron Jordan is here seated where recruits normally sit for games. He’s wearing his blue Illinois pullover again. He wore that at the Street Jam a few weeks ago.

I think he eventually picks the Illini.

As far as what to expect from the guys on the current roster, expect to see a heavy emphasis on communication tonight. Groce still thinks his guys, particularly the veterans, have a long way to go in that regard.

“What we need more of is we need more of our veterans to be outspoken, we do. I’ve been using the phrase with them we need them to have meaningful communication with the nine new faces,” he said.

A guy he’s particularly looking for more out of is Joseph Bertrand.

“You take a guy like Joe, I’m on Joe and he’ll be the first to tell you, ‘You need to talk more.’ I said to him the other day ‘You’re older than me. You’ve been here for five years. You’ve been through ups, you’ve been through downs, you’ve been through injuries, you’ve been through celebrations, you’ve been through bouncing back from adversity. You’ve been through all those things,’ ” Groce said. “What a shame if our older guys don’t share that with our younger guys. I think they’ve done OK there, but we need more out of them in terms of meaningful communication.”

The Illini are going through one of their warmup drills. It’s a no-dribble fast-break.

The Illinois coaches are going with the khaki pants and white polo combo tonight.

Mike Cation just got clarification from Ryan Pedon on how to correctly pronounce his name. It’s PEE-din.

Orange and Blue Scrimmage — 7 p.m. (WDWS 1400-AM, BTDN)

Good evening and welcome to the 2013 Orange and Blue Scrimmage, the first opportunity to see the new-look Illinois basketball squad. As I’m sure you’re aware, there are nine newcomers to this season’s squad, so there’s a bit more anticipation for this year’s event than there has been for similar ones in the past.

As we wrote today, this will be handled more like a practice than a game. John Groce said he always handles this event that way. He did it at Ohio and he’s done it here.

The format will be four eight-minute scrimmages and the coach will mix and match teams throughout the course of tonight’s event.

As you know, this will be the only opportunity to see transfers Aaron Cosby, Darius Paul and Ahmad Starks this season. The trio will sit out the year to satisfy NCAA transfer rules. It’s a big night for them, but Groce doesn’t want them getting too crazy.

“We don’t want them playing out of character. We want them doing what we do,” Groce said. “For us, we’re very fortunate and blessed in the type of year (Rayvonte Rice) had last year on the sit out set a pretty high bar for guys that sit out. Now it’s up to Aaron, Ahmad and Darius to carry their end of the bargain in that deal and thus far they have. We’ve still got a long way to go.”

We’re about an hour away from the beginning of the scrimmage. The team managers and the cheerleaders are on the court doing their thing. The cheerleaders are rocking pink pom-poms tonight.

Mike Cation is testing the PA system. No sign of the players or coaches yet. Groce said since this is essentially a glorified practice, they lifted and watched film today. Normally wouldn’t do that on a game day.

As I typed that, Aaron Cosby came out to get up some jumpers. So did Malcolm Hill.

I’ll update you at about the end of each quarter tonight. I’ll be back one before the thing starts.

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