UI grade vs. UIC: B
PLAYER OF THE GAME
Illinois’ Rayvonte Rice
The Champaign native continues to be the Illini MVP, scoring a season-high 28 points to go along with seven rebounds while shutting down UIC star Kelsey Barlow defensively in the second half.
Tracy Abrams (16 points, four assists, two blocks) and Joseph Bertrand (14 points, five rebounds) were major contributors along with Rice in Illinois’ dominant second half.
Jon Ekey couldn’t get the long range shot to fall and Nnanna Egwu had a slow start, but the duo received a great deal of credit from John Groce for the UI defense allowing just 16 second-half points.
Chicagoans Kendrick Nunn and Jaylon Tate played double-figure minutes and gave Illinois energy in the second half when it made the big run to take control of the game.
If Illinois plays halves like it did the first one Saturday from here on out, it’s going to be a rough Big Ten season. But the Illini continue to show resolve and have a go-to guy they can ride in pressure situations.