Illini grade vs. Valpo: B-
Player of the game
Illinois’ Rayvonte Rice
Former Charger made the local folks proud with his game-high 18 points. Play of the game: his follow-up slam in the final minutes that got a mostly blah crowd on its feet before hitting the exits. Good thing Rice decided to come home.
Illinois B, Valpo C
Joseph Bertrand hit a three to start his night off right and finished in double figures. Illini won’t beat good teams if Tracy Abrams misses 12 of 16 shots.
Illinois B, Valpo D
Jon Ekey did his best James Augustine impression, yanking down 15 rebounds. Whoever said he wasn’t athletic enough was dead wrong.
Illinois D, Valpo D+
Young guys are going to struggle early in their careers. It happens. But the reserves didn’t make any of their eight shots from the field. Good news: Malcolm Hill looked solid at the line.
Illinois B-, Valpo C-
The Illini struggled on offense, especially early in the game. But defense and the veterans helped them hold off the Crusaders’ late charge. Cliff Alexander would have helped.