The Illinois men's basketball team won its 20th game of the season Wednesday night, the fifth time in the last six years that's happened. But the Illini's 66-62 win over Boston University in the opening round of the NIT, will go down as one of the most dramatic in school history.
Down 17 points in the first half, second-seeded Illinois battled back to beat host Boston University 66-62 Wednesday night in the opening round of the NIT.
The WCIA 3 Sports Team brings you a look ahead at the NIT and a look back at the highlights from the regular season.
They aren't playing in the NCAA Tournament, but the Illinois basketball season will continue. The Illini were chosen Sunday night to play in the NIT. They will open up at Boston University Wednesday night at 6:00 pm on ESPN2.
Former Illinois assistant basketball coach Jay Price talks about the Illini's upcoming trip to Boston to play in the first round of the NIT.
Illinois head coach John Groce says his team is excited for the opportunity to play again this season. Illinois will play Boston University in the first round of the NIT Wednesday at 6pm CT.
Illinois junior point guard Tracy Abrams and the Illini say they're looking forward to a possible NIT bid after losing 64-63 to Michigan in the Big Ten Tournament quarterfinals.
Tracy Abrams was inches away from giving Illinois it's biggest win of the year, but the junior's runner in the lane came up just short at the buzzer as Illinois lost to Michigan 64-63 in the quarterfinals of the Big Ten Tournament Friday afternoon. Illinois' last-second attempt came moments after Michigan took the lead on a Jordan Morgan basket with less than 10 seconds left. The loss ends Illinois' run in the Big Ten Tournament, and it also ends any hope Illinois had of making a push for the NCAA Tournament. The Illini (19-14, 7-11) will wait to learn their NIT fate Sunday night.
Illinois junior Tracy Abrams scored a season-high 25 points to lead the Illini past Indiana 64-54 in the first round of the Big Ten Tournament Thursday in Indianapolis, Ind. Abrams shot 8-16 FG, pulled down seven rebounds, and only committed one turnover. He led three players in double figures. Rayvonte Rice scored 13, and Kendrick Nunn added 10. Illinois (19-13) advances to face top-seeded Michigan in the quarterfinals Friday at 11:00 am CT.
As Illinois gets ready to play in the Big Ten Tournament Thursday, their postseason destination is still very much up in the air. A first-round loss could send them to the CBI. A deep run could send them to the NCAA Tournament - or somewhere in the middle, they'll probably head to the NIT.
Illinois' Kendrick Nunn was named to the Big Ten All-Freshman Team Monday night. The Chicago-native came on late in the season to average 8.6 ppg during conference play. Joining Nunn on the list are Indiana's Noah Vonleh, Michigan's Derrick Walton, Jr., Purdue's Kendall Stephens and Wisconsin's Nigel Hayes. Nunn is the third Illinois player in the last five years to be named to the All-Freshman Team (Richardson 2010, Richmond 2011).
Illinois will face Indiana for the third time this year when they square off in the first round of the Big Ten Tournament Thursday (11 a.m., BTN). The Illini will be the No. 9 seed, but they come in as one of the hottest teams in the league.
The Big Ten Tournament bracket is all set, and Illinois has earned the No. 9 seed and will face No. 8 Indiana in the first round on Thursday (11:00 am, BTN). The winner of that one gets the top-seeded Michigan in the quarterfinals.
Illinois senior Jon Ekey is the talk of the town after his last-second three won the game for Illinois Saturday night at No. 24 Iowa - the first time the Hawkeyes have lost to an unranked team at home in the last 31 games. WCIA 3's Bret Beherns was there for the magic and has the story.
A look back at Andy Kaufmann's buzzer-beater to beat Iowa at Assembly Hall in 1993.
Illinois senior Jon Ekey saved the biggest shot of his career for his last shot of the regular season. Ekey hit a deep 3 with :0.5 left to lift Illinois to an improbably 66-63 win in Iowa City. Ekey drained three 3-PT on the night - none bigger than the final one. Illinois raced out to a 20-6 lead, threatening to blow out Iowa on their home floor, but the Hawkeyes surged back to lead by five at the half. In the second half, Illinois (18-13, 7-11) managed to re-take the lead late, only to let Iowa tie the game with less than 1:00 to play. That's when Ekey saved the day.
Illinois might not be at full strength when they finish the regular season at Iowa Saturday night. Senior guard Joseph Bertrand left Tuesday's game early with a knee injury. Head coach John Groce said on a teleconference Friday that Bertrand practiced Thursday and will hopefully be ready. Meanwhile freshman point guard Jaylon Tate will be closer to a game-time deicision as he nurses a foot injury.
Illinois-signee Aaron Jordan was named to the Chicago Sun-Times All-Area Team Friday. The Plainfield East junior - and future Illini - averaged 20 points a game, while shooting 47% from 3-PT range. Curie's Cliff Alexander was named the Sun-Times Player of the Year and the Naismith National Player of the Year Friday.
No matter how the Illinois men's basketball season finishes, head coach John Groce has made a lasting impact in the lives of one central Illinois family. All it took was a letter - a simple response - in a time of need. As WCIA 3's Matt Wettersten reports, it made all the difference.
Illinois cut No. 23 Iowa’s lead to nine with 5:17 left in the game but missed its final seven shots as the fifth-seeded Hawkeyes pulled away for an 81-62 win in the first round of the Big Ten Tournament at Bankers Life Fieldhouse on Thursday.
It was a record-setting night at State Farm Center - just not the kind of history Illinois was hoping to right. No. 12 Michigan led from wire-to-wire en route to an 84-53 win. The 31-point margin of victory is the largest by any visiting team in State Farm Center history. Michigan shot 56% from the field and nearly 70% from 3-PT range. The Wolverines hit 16 threes. That ties a State Farm Center record. Illinois (17-13, 6-11) was led by Rayvonte Rice's 16 points and nine rebounds. Illinois will finish up the regular season Saturday at Iowa.
Illinois' postseason hopes got a big lift Saturday when Illinois beat No. 18 Michigan State in East Lansing. Now, believe it or not, their NCAA Tournament chances are still alive if they can finish strong.
Illinois senior guard Amber Moore and junior guard Ivory Crawford were named honorable mention All-Big Ten Monday, as the conference announced its postseason honors. Crawford earned the honor from both the conference coaches and media, while Moore was named honorable mention by Big Ten media members.
The Illinois basketball team cranks up the defense and former Illinois assistant coach Jay Price talks about their new found postseason hopes.
Illinois narrowly missed a huge upset of No. 16 Nebraska, falling 72-65 to the Huskers in front of 7,480 fans at Pinnacle Bank Arena on Thursday. The Illini pulled within 65-63 with 3:03 remaining on an Amber Moore three-pointer but made just 2-of-7 free throws down the stretch as Nebraska salted away the victory from the free-throw line, making 7-of-8 in the final 2:06.
The Illinois men snapped a five-game home losing streak with a win over a red-hot Nebraska team Wednesday night. WCIA 3's Bret Beherns has more on how they did it, and what the win means moving forward.
Reigning Big Ten Freshman of the Week Kendrick Nunn led the way again with a game-high 13 points as Illinois avenged an earlier loss to Nebraska 60-49. Nunn continued his hot shooting, going 3-for-4 from 3PT range. Rayvonte Rice added 10 points and 9 rebounds for Illinois.
Five-star shooting guard Charles Matthews from Chicago's St. Rita High School verbally committed to Kentucky Wednesday morning, choosing the Wildcats over Illinois and three other finalists. Matthews is the No. 1 player in the state of Illinois and No. 12 in the nation according to ESPN.
John Groce has been looking for a consistent second scoring option behind Rayvonte Rice, and he may have finally found some help in freshmen Malcolm Hill and Kendrick Nunn. The two first-year players have been mainstays in the starting lineup for the last two weeks. Nunn is the reigning Big Ten Freshman of the Week after scoring 19 points at Minnesota. He and Hill have provided the spark this team has been looking for, and they've done a good job taking some of the pressure off of Rice.
Illinois' Kendrick Nunn was named Big Ten Freshman of the Week Monday after he scored a game-high 19 points to help lead Illinois past Minnesota Wednesday night in Minneapolis. It's the first freshman of the week honor for the Chicago-native. Nunn has come on strong late in the season, averaging 13 points game since becoming a starter earlier this month.
Former Illini assistant coach Jay Price looks at the Big Ten race and Illinois' postseason opportunities.
The Illini men continued their dominance at the Barn Wednesday night, winning for the 11th time in the last 13 tries in MInneapolis. WCIA 3's Bret Beherns was with the team in Minnesota and has more.
Freshman Kendrick Nunn scored a career-high 19 points on 5-7 from 3-PT, and Nnanna Egwu picked up his first career double-double with 14 points and 11 rebounds as Illinois rallied past Minnesota 62-49 Wednesday night at Williams Arena. Illinois (15-12, 4-10) fell behind by 11 points early, but they outscored the Gophers 38-22 in the second half to put the game away.
The Illinois basketball team is hoping to draw some inspiration from a special guest in practice. Former Illinois guard DJ Richardson has been in town this week working with the team at practice. Richardson's international game is on hold while he recovers from an ankle injury, so he is using the time to try and help out the current team who has lost 10 of it's last 11 games. Richardson knows what they are going through, and he is glad to do whatever he can to help.
Nnanna Egwu was one of the few bright spots for Illinois in their loss to Ohio State Saturday night. Egwu pulled down a career-high 14 rebounds to along with three blocks against the Buckeyes. The junior ranks third in the conference in blocks and Top 10 in the league in rebounding in conference games. While the offense hasn't come as quickly or easily as fans would like, the other parts of his game are among the best in the Big Ten.
The Illinois basketball team continues to struggle. Jay Price provides analysis in studio.
No. 22 Ohio State beat Illinois for the second time this season, 48-39, Saturday night at State Farm Center. The Illini have lost 10 out of their last 11 games.
The losses keep mounting for Illinois, who has now lost nine of their last ten games and fallen back into dead last in the Big Ten. The latest defeat came at the hands of Nebraska last night in Lincoln.
Rayvonte Rice scored 23 points, but Nebraska pulled away late to hand Illinois a 67-58 loss. The loss is Illinois’ 9th in the last 10 games. Nebraska’s Shavon Shields led all scorers with 33 points. Rice was 7-17 FG (7-11 FT) for the Illini. Freshmen Kendrick Nunn and Malcolm Hill earned their second straight start and combined to score 17 points. Nnanna Egwu struggled to find the scoring column (4 pts), but pulled down a game-high 12 rebounds. Illinois (14-11, 3-9) drops into last place in the Big Ten. They’ll host Ohio State Sunday night.
Illinois got a big boost from it's freshmen in Sunday's 60-55 win at Penn State, but the veterans will need to be the ones to re-emerge if they want to save their season down the stretch. Illinois will go for it's second straight win when they visit Nebraka tonight (8:00 pm, BTN).
It has been a long time coming for Illinois - to finally see some positive results from all their hard work. That is exactly what they have heading into Wednesday's game at Nebraska (8:00 pm, BTN).
The streak is over. The Illinois basketball team put an end to it's eight-game losing streak with a 60-55 win at Penn State Sunday, and a lineup change may have been the spark they needed. John Groce put freshmen Kendrick Nunn and Malcolm Hill in the starting lineup for the first time this year. They replaced seniors Joseph Bertrand and Jon Ekey, who had both started the first 23 games of the year. Nunn and Hill combined to score 30 points on 11-22 shooting, ensuring the move paid off.
Kendrick Nunn scored a career-high 19 points leading Illinois over Penn State 60-55. The win snapped the Illini's eight-game losing streak. Malcolm Hill also scored a career-high 11 points.
Illini women's basketball falls to Minnesota 66-61. Illini men's tennis defeats (10) Texas 4-3. (15) Illini wrestling defeats (9) Northwestern 24-12.
Illini commit Aaron Jordan scored 17 points for Plainfield East as they defeated rival Plainfield North 69-48.
Illini men's tennis rallies past Notre Dame
The Illinois basketball team hung with Wisconsin for most of the night, but the Badgers were too much down the stretch as they pulled away for a 75-63 win over Illinois Tuesday night at the State Farm Center. Only about 4,100 fans braved the winter weather to watch the Illini, but Rayvonte Rice had no problem heading up. The Champaign-native led three players in double figures with a game-high 24 points. Joseph Bertrand added 11. Nnanna Egwu chipped in 10. Wisconsin, though, was too much from long range. The Badgers knocked home 10 threes. Illinois (13-10, 2-8) is back in action Sunday at Penn St.
Chatrice White is not only the most highly-touted recruit Matt Bollant has ever landed as head coach, she is also one of the most talented recruits in Illinois history. She's hoping to make an equally large impact when she arrives on campus next year. WCIA 3's Matt Wettersten sat down with White to find out what she will bring to the U of I.
Illinois will take a seven-game losing streak into Tuesday's game against Wisconsin. Through it all, Groce is staying positive, and he is keeping the message to his players simple.
Former Illini assistant coach Jay Price talks with Matt Wettersten about the current state of Illinois basketball.