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Georgia Tech 67, Illinois 64 — FINAL

ATLANTA — Georgia Tech went on a 19-4 run over the final 9 minutes, 13 seconds to come from behind to beat the Illini on Tuesday in the Big Ten/ACC Challenge at McCamish Pavilion.

Illinois got a game-high 24 points from Rayvonte Rice and 10 from Bertrand in the loss. Bertrand had a three-pointer from the right corner in the closing seconds that would have given the Illini a 67-65 lead, but it clanked off the rim.

GET MJ'S POSTGAME THOUGHTS HERE

Georgia Tech got 21 points from Robert Carter Jr. and 20 from Marcus Georges-Hunt.

It was the first loss of the season for the Illini, who were looking to win at least their first eight games for the third consecutive season. It also snaps a four-game win streak in the annual event pitting teams from each conference against one another.

More later on HQ.

Illinois 51, Georgia Tech 46 — 11:39 second half

Boy, get used to seeing Rayvonte Rice jump into passing lanes like that and finishing on the other end. He’s been doing it for as long as I cen remember seeing him play and that goes back to his freshman year in high school.

He hit his third three of the game and then picked off a pass and finished with a dunk to give the Illini the lead back. He got fouled grabbing a rebound going into the under-16 media timeout.

He scored 10 straight Illinois points early in the half.

I forgot to mention this at the half, but that’s now three straight games that the Illini have trailed at the break.

I’m told there’s at least one NBA scout here and he’s not enthused with any of the talent he’s seen here tonight at McCamish Pavilion. He likes Nnanna, but Nnanna’s raw.

Some kind of chicken restaurant sponsors free throws here. They call them “fowl shots.” That makes sense.

One of the big heads the Georgia Tech fans are waving behind the Illini basket is of Britney Spears. Britney from 2007 when she went crazy and had a haircut like mine.

They have a “flex cam” here where people are encouraged to show off their muscles. Not many folks are hitting the weight room down here. The dance team showed off their muscles and they were actually very impressive.

After only being called for four fouls in the first half, Georgia Tech was hit with four in the second half before the first media timeout.

Georgia Tech 36, Illinois 33 — HALFTIME

It’s been a half of runs. After the Illini jumped out to a 26-17 lead, Georgia Tech went on a 19-7 run late in the half to take the lead.

Both teams have shot it well from deep. The Illini started 5 for 10 and ended up 6 for 15 (40 percent). Rayvonte Rice’s desperation three at the buzzer went in and out. Georgia Tech got hot late, making three straight from deep. The Yellow Jackets are 3 for 8 (37.5 percent).

There have been a few sustained I-L-L, I-N-I chants here.

Took a while for Malcolm Hill to get some action. He checked in at the 10:48 mark.

Illinois tried to hurry Jaylon Tate into the game after Abrams picked up his second foul midway through the half. He didn’t make it and Tracy had to play one more possession. It didn’t come back to haunt them.

Speaking of foul trouble, Maverick Morgan picked up his third with eight minutes left in the half. Nnanna Egwu was already on the bench with two. Austin Colbert and Jon Ekey had to carry the frontcourt load.

Hard to believe that Malcolm Hill’s layup was just his fifth made field goal of the season.

Joeph Bertrand has knocked down a pair of threes. If he can do that, he’s hard to guard. He started actively calling for the ball later in the half after hitting the second one.

UI athletic director Mike Thomas and his wife Jeni are sitting next to Mike Small behind the Illinois bench.

Illinois shot 13 for 30 (43.3 percent) from the floor and 1 for three from the foul line. Georgia Tech was only called for four fouls in the half. The Illini got whistled for 10.

Georgia Tech is 13 for 28 from the floor (46.4 percent).

Rayvonte Rice leads Illini with nine points. Bertrand has eight.

Robert Carter Jr. leads all scorers with 10.

Illinois 13, Georgia Tech 9 — 11:51 first half

Illinois jumped into a zone defense during the first three minutes. Loren tate asked me about that before the game. Something weird happens in his body when he recognizes a zone defense. He gets so excited. It’s strange.

On the first zone possession, Abrams fouled a three-point shooter. Tech went 1 for 3, good foul, I guess.

Early minutes for Jaylon Tate and Maverick Morgan. They each checked in before the first timeout. Kendrick Nunn came in right after the timeout.

Nnanna Egwu had bad intentions on the shot he blocked against the glass.

Kendrick Nunn is playing with a lot more confidence the past couple of games. The freshman just buried a three from the right wing.

Steve Greenberg says he went to high school (Chicago Lane Tech) and college (Wisconsin) with Georgia Tech coach Brian Gregory’s wife.

Have I mentioned there are a lot of Illini fans here?

The student section here is really quiet. Maybe they’re worried about that big astrophysics exam they have in the morning.

We’re right across the street from the Turner studios. I wonder if Chuck and Shaq are in the house.

How’s the broadcast?

Illinois (7-0) at Georgia Tech (5-3) — 6:15 p.m. (ESPN2)

The public address announcer welcomed fans to MaCamish Pavilion for tonight’s game between the Fighting Illini of Illinois and the Yellow Jackets of Georgia Tech. There was a much more robust cheer for the visiting team than the home team.

A Georgia Tech official was overheard saying “He should have said ‘Welcome Fighting Illini fans.’ ”

Lots of orange in here.

Not a lot of blue and gold here. Might be 2,000 people here and half of them are Illinois fans.

The student section is seated across from the team benches, behind the radio crews.

You won’t see the team benches on TV, they’re on the same side as the main television camera.

They turn off the lights here for the lineups. This is a really weak crowd. I’ll go ahead and stop harping on it.

Len and Bob are doing the game. Not Kasper and Brenly, Cubs fans. It’s Elmore and Wischusen.

The Illinois women’s team is here, seated near the family members of the men’s team. The women play here tomorrow night against Georgia Tech.

Illinois is going with the same starting lineup it has the first seven games. Tracy Abrams, Rayvonte Rice, Joseph Bertrand, Jon Ekey and Nnanna Egwu.

Georgia Tech is going with Marcus Georges-Hunt, Robert Carter Jr., Daniel Miller, Chris Bolden and Trae Golden.

I just tried to eat a hot dog from the concession stand. It was awful. I’ll dine on M&M’s tonight.

Six jerseys hang from the rafters here: Matt Harpring, Tom Hammonds, Roger Kaiser, John “Spider” Salley, Mark Price and Rich Kunkus.

I remember watching Harpring, Salley and Price play in the NBA.

Illinois (7-0) at Georgia Tech (5-3) — 6:15 p.m. (ESPN2)

Welcome back to Atlanta. I tried to go talk to Len Elmore, but he’s busy. But there’s a who’s who of Illini fans here in the South.

Illinois golf coach Mike Small is here sitting behind the Illini bench. Small flew down last night with the team. He played golf today with some buddies at East Lake Country Club, home of the TOUR Championship has been held.

Illinois grad and Mattoon native Will Leitch is also here. I ran into Will on my way back up to the media room. Will’s here with his dad. He lives in Athens now.

Joseph Bertrand’s mom is here and I also spotted Mike LaTulip’s dad.

According to folks who pay attention to these things, Illinois is a 2-point underdog tonight. That’s not good for our prediction record, which has got to be on the longest winning streak in the country. We ended last season on a 12-game run and were 7-0 to start this season. We’re knocking on the door of 20.

Pretty good Illinois media contingent here. Shannon Ryan of the Chicago Tribune is here. Steve Greenberg from the Chicago Sun-Times, Fletcher Page of Sout.com and Brett Behrens from WCIA is here, too. Fletcher is actually a Georgia native. He grew up in Young Harris, Ga., two hours north of Atlanta. He’s going to be my tour guide.

I’m actually staying here all week since Illinois plays in Atlanta on Sunday against Auburn. My uncle lives in Kennesaw, about a half hour north of the city. Nice digs.

Illinois isn’t focused on the fact that it has two games in the same city in the same week. They’re going back home tonight to prepare for the Auburn game.

“I’m not thinking about the trip this weekend. I’m more focused on practice and then the trip and the game (tonight),” John Groce said. “When we get back, we’ve got only a week and a half of class left prior to finals, so we’re making a big academic push heading into finals, we’ve got to do a good job there. That’s more what I’m thinking about, not necessarily the fact that it’s the same city twice in a row. We’ll treat every road trip and every game, in terms of our approach, the same.”

I’m going to try to find my seat now and I’ll be back to update you again at the tip.

Apologies for the delays. we're having connectivity issues.

Illinois (7-0) at Georgia Tech (5-3) — 6:15 p.m. (ESPN2)

Good evening folks and welcome to the 2013 Big Ten/ACC Challenge from Atlanta. As you know, this one is a rematch of last year’s contest the Illini won 75-62 in Champaign, behind the super-human performance from Joseph Bertrand.

Joe went on a personal 10-0 run to give the Illini a jolt in the second half and earned himself a spot on “SportsCenter’s” Top 10 plays with his acrobatic layup in the face of the Georgia Tech defense.

It’s the game that finally got Brandon Paul and other to encourage Joe to get a Twitter account.

Anyway, we’re getting a late start here. Had to park about a half mile away and walk here in a rain storm. The weather here in Atlanta has been dreadful the past couple of days. Overcast, foggy and rainy. It’s been in the 50s and 60s, so it’s got that going for it.

Jerry Hester is here calling the game on the radio. The former Illini tells me he bumped into rapper T.I. last night. They literally bumped into one another and T.I. says to Jerry “You look familiar” and Jerry says to T.I. “You look familiar.”

Jerry reports that Charles Barkley and Cam Newton were also in the same restaurant. Lots of famous folks here in the ATL.

The McCamish Pavilion is a two-year-old arena. It’s very nice, everything is brand new and it’s cozy. It holds about 8,600 and most of them are right on top of the floor. The roof is low here, so it could potentially get really loud.

I overheard some of the security personnel here saying that this is a big game, so I’d expect there should be a very nice crowd here.

They’ve stuck us media here way at the top of the building, so I’m going to try to make my way down to the floor to check in with the Illini and maybe get a few words from Len Elmore, who’s calling the game for ESPN.

We’ll be back.

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