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.

Backcourt
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.

Frontcourt
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.

Bench
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.

Overall
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.
 

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