The Illinois Fighting Illini were able to continue their hot undefeated start to the season on Sunday with an 81-55 vicotry over the Bradley Braves.
Just as head coach John Groce said at the postgame press conference (seen below), he thought that the Illini played very tough and were “locked in defensively” against the Braves.
It was that defensive ability that helped the Illini overcome their slow start on Sunday. It wasn’t until just after the 12 minute mark in the first half that Illinois was able to get things going against Bradley.
Following up his 15 rebound game against Valpo, forward Jon Ekey took on more of a scoring role against Bradley and led the team with 19 points in the game. Along with his 19 points, he was able to haul in seven rebounds and made 5-of-7 3-pointers.
Illinois also had three other players reach double-digits in the game.
Rayvonte Rice finished the game with 13 points while Tracy Abrams and Nnanna Egwu both scored 12 and 10 points respectively.
Although he led the team in scoring heading into Sunday night’s contest, Rice was able to help out his team in other ways besides scoring on Sunday.
Rice was able to haul in seven rebounds and dish out five assists (team-high) in the game. Even coach Groce mentioned in the postgame press conference that he thought Rayvonte did a nice job passing the ball off to Abrams for better looks at the basket in the game.
Overall, Sunday was a very nice win for the Fighting Illini.
Some Illini fans might look at the box score and see that freshman Jaylon Tate only had four points against Bradley. However, they should not worry about that too much.
Tate played so well in the team’s two exhibition scrimmages that some thought he could break the starting lineup consistently for the Illini.
Although he had only four points off the bench against Bradley, he was able to dish out six assists to help his team get the W.
Illinois’ next game will be against the Chicago State Cougars on November 22nd at the State Farm Center. Chicago State is currently 2-2 on the season and will play one more game against Alabama State before playing the Illini.
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