Tate steps up in Abrams' place

Published 01/27 2014 03:42PM

Updated 01/27 2014 06:40PM

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. - Illinois' losing streak reached six games Sunday after a 10-point loss at Indiana, but the Illini are taking some positives away as they move forward.  One of those encouraging signs was the play of freshman point guard Jaylon Tate.

Head coach John Groce singled out Tate after the game for his play, while filling in for the injured Tracy Abrams.  Abrams was in-and-out of the game with back spasms; the junior only played 13 minutes.

The bulk of the playing time went to Tate, who scored six points on 3-7 FG, and he also dished out five assists.

"Jaylon was ready to go.  He took the whole 'next man up' concept to another level.  He did a great job being ready," Groce said of his freshman, who also committed three turnovers.  "He made some good plays for us - learned a few freshman lessons there late in the game.  Jaylon is a kid who cares a lot."

The always-humble Tate credited his teammates for putting him in position to succeed.

"I get a lot of confidence from my teammates, and they told me to just be aggressive and take what the defense gives you," Tate said.  "It's a credit to them.  I just made some plays."

Tate was one of the few playmakers for Illinois in Bloomington.  The team shot only 33% from the field and scored only 46 points.

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