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Groce: "I'm so thankful" to have Ekey

Illinois survived a bit of a scare from Valparaiso Wednesday night, and their dominance on the glass was a big reason why they came out on top. Nobody did a better job in that area than Jon Ekey. The Illinois State-transfer pulled down a career-high 15 rebounds.
CHAMPAIGN -- Illinois survived a bit of a scare from Valparaiso Wednesday night, and their dominance on the glass was a big reason why they came out on top.  Nobody did a better job in that area than Jon Ekey.  The Illinois State-transfer pulled down a career-high 15 rebounds.

"I just found a lot of holes there and was able to get up there and tip them out or grab them," Ekey said.  "It was just something that the coaches have been telling me everyday in practice, 'Go, offensive rebound.' That's one of the keys for us."

"He does a lot of things that show up on the stat sheet, obviously, you see that 15 [rebounds]" said head coach John Groce.  "But he does a lot of things that don't [show up on the stat sheet].  He's very reminiscent of [Sam] McLaurin from an intangible perspective.  I'm so thankful that we have him."

As a team Illinois out-rebounded the Crusaders 49-36.  Illinois grabbed 18 offensive rebounds, which led to 11 second-chance points.
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