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.
Illinois stumbled out of the gate as Indiana scored 34 points in the game’s first minutes and cruised to a 77-58 victory at State Farm Center on Sunday. Ivory Crawford led the Illini with 16 points on 7-of-14 shooting but Indiana made 12 three-pointers and out-rebounded Illinois 45-26.
Illinois rallied from down 21 first half points, to take a five point lead in the second half. However, the 15th ranked Iowa Hawkeyes were too much. Iowa won 81-74 despite a game-high 20 points from Joseph Bertrand.
Illinois started hot but gave up two big runs in the first half, and Ohio State took a 90-64 win at Value City Arena on Thursday. Jacqui Grant led the way with a career-high 23 points and Amber Moore added 20, including six three-pointers, but the Buckeyes made 25-of-29 free throws compared to only 6-of-7 by the Illini. Illinois falls to 9-11 overall, 2-6 in the Big Ten, while Ohio State moves to 14-10, 4-4.
Illinois women's basketball recruit Chatrice White (Shelby, NE) has been picked to play in the 2014 McDonald's All-American Game. ESPN ranks the Nebraska native as the No. 4 post player in her class (No. 27 overall).
The Illinois basketball team is in the middle what head coach John Groce calls a physical, and more importantly, mental break from game action. Illinois will carry a six-game losing streak into Saturday's game against Iowa.
Illinois freshman Jacqui Grant tied her career-high with 22 points, but Illinois lost to No. 19 Purdue 80-68 Monday night at State Farm Center. Grant's 22 points came on 9-for-14 shooting. She also added 7 rebounds. Ivory Crawford added 15 points and 10 rebounds for Illinois, who falls to 9-11 overall (2-5 Big Ten).
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.
Illinois lost to Indiana 56-46. Rayvonte Rice scored 20 points in a losing effort.
Illinois' leading scorer Rayvonte Rice was held scoreless for the first time in his collegiate career (84 games) as the Illini lost to Ohio State 62-55 Thursday night in Columbus. The loss was Illinois' fifth straight in the conference play. Joseph Bertrand led the way for Illinois with 19 points. Nnanna Egwu broke out of his slump with ten points, his first points in three games. Illinois (13-7, 2-5) will carry a five-game losing streak on the road to Indiana Sunday.
Illinois scored 15 of the game’s final 20 points to pull away for a 61-51 win in front of 5,360 at Michigan State on Thursday, as the Fighting Illini earned their second road win in their last three attempts and their second-straight win at the Breslin Center. Ivory Crawford led the way with 14 points and Jacqui Grant posted a double-double with 13 points and 10 rebounds. Illinois held MSU, which entered the game averaging 75.9 points per game, to its lowest point total of the season.
Former Illini Deron Williams was one of 28 players named to the USA Men's Basketball National Team roster on Thursday. From that pool of 28, they will eventually pick 12 players who will compete for Team USA at the World Championships and at the 2016 Olympics.
Illinois head coach John Groce admitted Wednesday he crossed the line when it comes to showing his emotions on the bench. Groce received a technical foul after throwing off his jacket during Saturday's loss to Michigan State.
Illinois head coach John Groce said Wednesday he wants Rayvonte Rice to be even more aggressive in order to take his game and the team to the next level. Rice leads the team with 17.4 ppg, and Groce says the last couple days in practice are the best he has looked since straining his adductor muscle January 12th against Northwestern.
Illinois basketball has lost four straight games, its longest losing streak in two years. One of the biggest reasons is the lack of an inside presence. Junior center Nnanna Egwu hasn't scored in two games.
Former Illini assistant coach Jay Price talks about the current team.
The Illinois basketball team lost its fourth straight game, a 78-62 loss to Michigan State. The Freshman continue to develop.
Former Illini Eddie Johnson was recognized at halftime of the Illinois basketball game against Michigan State. It's the 35th anniversary of his game-winning shot that defeated #1 Michigan State in 1979.
Illinois dropped to 13-6 (2-4) with a 78-62 loss to Michigan State. It is the fourth loss in a row for the Illini.
Things went from bad to worse for the Illinois basketball team Wednesday night in a 66-58 loss to Purdue. It was Illinois' third straight loss, and now they're left searching for answers with the toughest part of their schedule on the way.
Illinois lost it's third consecutive game Wednesday night 66-58 to Purdue. Illinois' leading scorer Rayvonte Rice was in the starting lineup, despite playing through an adductor strain. Rice scored 11 points and pulled down 7 rebounds. Tracy Abrams led the way with 13 points, but Illinois was out-toughed on the glass. Purdue pulled down 16 offensive rebounds, which led to an abundance of second-chance opportunities. Illinois (13-5, 2-3) hosts Michigan State Saturday night.
John Groce wouldn't say definitively how much - or even if - Rayvonte Rice will play against Purdue Wednesday night. Illinois' leading scorer is nursing a strained adductor muscle, which Groce says he injured Sunday night at Northwestern.
Illinois lost to Northwestern Sunday 49-43 falling to 13-4 (2-2). Tracy Abrams was the only Illini in double figures with 13 points. Illinois hosts Purdue Wednesday. Aaron Bennett reports from Evanston and former Illini assistant coach Jay Price provides analysis.
The Illinois women's basketball team lost to Nebraska Sunday 75-56. The Illini drop to 7-9, 0-3 in the Big Ten. Ivory Crawford led the Illini with 19 points, while Jacqui Grant chipped in 15 points. Illinois plays at Northwestern Wednesday.
Matt Bollant's team built an early 17-5 lead over No. 14 Penn State Thursday night at State Farm Center, but the Nittany Lions rallied to hand Illinois it's second straight conference loss 82-76. Ivory Crawford led all scorers with 25 points. Freshman Jacqui Grant added 15 points before fouling out. Illinois falls to 7-8 (0-2) this season.
Wednesday night's 95-70 loss at Wisconsin is a game Illinois basketball fans would rather forget, but you can bet John Groce won't let his team forget about it anytime soon. Now, how they bounce back will be the key moving forward. WCIA 3's Bret Beherns reports.
Wisconsin went on a 20-0 run midway through the first half and never looked back on their way to a 95-70 win over Illinois Wednesday night in Madison. Illinois missed 13 consecutive shots at one point during that Badgers run. Rayvonte Rice led the way for Illinois with 19 points and 9 rebounds. Senior Joseph Bertrand added 18 points. Illinois falls to 13-3 (2-1) this season. They're back in action at Northwestern Sunday night.
Wednesday night Illinois will try to improve to 3-0 in the Big Ten when they visit undefeated Wisconsin. The Illini come into the game with that fresh Top 25 ranking and a five game losing streak against the Badgers.
The Illinois men's basketball team has jumped into the Top 25 for the first time this season. The new Associated Press rankings were released Monday, and Illinois is ranked No. 23. This comes after back-to-back wins over Indiana and Penn State to open Big Ten play.
The postponed Illinois-Northwestern women’s basketball game has been rescheduled for Wednesday, Jan. 15, following Northwestern’s men’s basketball game. The women’s game, which was originally scheduled to be played Monday night, was postponed because of inclement weather throughout the state.
Lou Henson and Jay Price discuss which Illinois basketball team would win if the 1989 team played the 2005 team.
The Illini basketball team held Penn State to just 55 points, its lowest total of the season. The Illini defense shines for the second straight game. Jay Price also has a breakdown.
The legendary '88-'89 Flyin' Illini were honored at halftime of Saturday's Illinois basketball game.
The Illinois basketball team defeated Penn State 75-55 behind 15 points from Rayvonte Rice. Four Illini scored in double figures. Illinois improves to 13-2 (2-0).
2015 Plainfield East guard Aaron Jordan verbally committed to play basketball at Illinois Saturday. He stopped by the WCIA-3 studios to talk with Matt Wettersten about the decision.
The Wisconsin Badgers used a big overtime period to beat Illinois 76-64 Friday night at State Farm Center. The game was tied 58-58 after regulation but the Badgers outscored the Illini 16-8 in the extra frame to earn the win.
The University of Illinois will welcome back arguably the greatest team in school history this weekend when they host the players and coaches from the Flyin' Illini for a 25th Anniversary celebration. As WCIA 3's Matt Wettersten reports even though none of the current Illini players were alive when the '88-'89 team marched all the way to the Final Four, they know exactly how special that team was.
Illinois got it's Big Ten season started on the right foot with that overtime win over Indiana Tuesday. 17 Big Ten games remain on Illinois' regular season schedule, and head coach John Groce says he likes where his team is at from a toughness perspective.
The Illini have won their last three games. Illinois trailed in all three contests and had to fight back. Coach Groce isn't as concerned with the two games the team lost, rather the games they have won when facing adversity.
Rayvonte Rice scored 29 points, tying a career high, and grabbed eight rebounds to lead Illinois past Indiana 83-80 in overtime Wednesday afternoon at State Farm Center.
Illinois head coach John Groce is stressing mental toughness to his team leading up to Tuesday's Big Ten Conference opener against Indiana.
Illinois junior Rayvonte Rice was named co-Big Ten Player of the Week Monday. The Champaign native scored 28 points in Saturday's win over UIC.
Illinois Junior Rayvonte Rice is a big reason why the Illini are 11-2 as they enter Big Ten play Tuesday. He leads the team in scoring, averaging over 18 points per game.
Trailing by as many as 13 in the first half, Illinois rallied to defeat UIC 74-60 at the United Center Saturday. Rayvonte Rice helped eliminate a ten point first half deficit by scoring 28 points in the game. It is the most points he has scored in an Illini uniform.
Illinois' game at its sister school, University of Illinois-Chicago, will be a homecoming for the Illini. Half of the roster hails from the Windy City or its suburbs.
The top 10 sports stories from Central Illinois in 2013 part two.
The top 10 sports stories from Central Illinois in 2013 part one.
The Illinois basketball team played with great emotion and it's one of the main reasons the Illini pulled out a big Braggin' Rights victory over Missouri.
The Illinois basketball team snapped a four game losing streak in the Braggin' Rights contest to Missouri. Illinois won 65-64 behind 22 Tracy Abrams points. It was also the program's 1,700th win. Former Illinois assistant coach Jay Price joins Matt Wettersten with more.
The Illinois women's basketball team beat UT Martin 77-62 Saturday afternoon at State Farm Center.
Illinois snapped a four-game losing streak in the Braggin' Rights game Saturday afternoon, beating No. 23 Missouri 65-64 at Scottrade Center in St. Louis.
Illinois head coach John Groce said his players have been looking forward to Saturday's Braggin' Rights game in St. Louis all off-season.
With finals behind them, the Illinois men's basketball team is looking forward to Saturday's Braggin' Rights game against Missouri.
After being the main catalyst of a 20-point comeback performance last week vs. Seton Hall, the conference named Illini senior Amber Moore Big Ten player of the week. Moore scored a game high 24 points in the last second 71-70 win over the Pirates, earning her second Big Ten Player of the week honor this season.
Illinois played well, but Oregon rallied late to stay undefeated and defeat the Illini 71-64. Tracy Abrams and Rayvonte Rice each scored 16 points to lead Illinois.
Illinois basketball hits the road for it's biggest test of the season. The Illini will will play No. 15 Oregon Saturday night (8:00 pm, ESPN2) in Portland. WCIA 3's Bret Beherns has more on two players the Illini will be leaning on to help pull out another win.
The Illinois basketball team picked up win No. 9 Tuesday night against Dartmouth, and they continue to get some quality minutes from their freshman class. Malcolm Hill was the best of the bunch Tuesday with a career-high 10 points; but Hill, Kendrick Nunn, Jaylon Tate and Maverick Morgan all saw significant playing time against the Big Green. The freshmen combined for 17 points and only four turnovers.
Illinois raced out to a 12-point halftime advantage before holding on for a 72-65 win over Dartmouth Tuesday night at State Farm Center. The Illini were led in scoring by Champaign-native Rayvonte Rice with 13 points. Jon Ekey, Joseph Bertrand and Nanna Egwu added 13 apiece. Freshman Malcolm Hill enjoyed his best game so far as an Illini with 10 points and 4 rebounds. Illinois improves to 9-1 on the year.
Amber Moore scored 24 points and pulled down 11 rebounds to lead Illinois to the most improbable of wins 71-70 over Seton Hall Monday night at State Farm Center. Illinois trailed by 20 points (63-43) midway through the second half before rallying for the one-point victory. Illinois improves to 6-5; they'll host UT-Martin December 21.
The Illinois men's basketball team got back on track Sunday with a blow-out win over Auburn. They say it was a great way to put the Georgia Tech loss behind them. Tougher games are on the way with Dartmouth Tuesday night, and then back-to-back Top 25 tests against Oregon and Missouri.
The Illini basketball team defeated Auburn 81-62 to improve to 8-1 on the season Saturday. Rayvonte Rice led the Illini with 22 points. Illinois made a season high 12 three-pointers.
The Illinois basketball team is headed back to Georgia this weekend. Sunday afternoon's game against Auburn will be their second game of the week in Atlanta. WCIA 3's Bret Beherns has been there all week and has more on how they're turning the page after their first defeat.
The Illinois basketball team is moving forward after their first loss of the season Tuesday night, and head coach John Groce says there is no panic within the locker room. It might be easy to overreact after Illinois blew a 12-point lead in the final nine minutes of a 67-64 loss to Georgia Tech, but Groce says it all came down to a lack of execution. That is something he is hammering home in practice this week in hopes that they don't make the same mistakes again.
For the first time this year the Illinois men's basketball team will try to bounce back from a loss. It was a tough one Tuesday night losing in the final seconds at Georgia Tech. WCIA 3's Bret Beherns was with the Illini in Atlanta and has more on where the team goes from here.
The Illinois women's basketball team tried to do what the men could not - and that is beat Georgia Tech in the Big Ten/ACC Challenge. Like the men, though, the women ran out of gas losing 93-69 to the Yellow Jackets. Illinois guard Sarah Hartwell, who transferred to Illinois from Georgia Tech, scored 9 points in her return to Atlanta. Illinois (5-3) hits the road on Saturday against Colorado.
The Fighting Illini led a 12-point second-half lead slip away en route to a 67-64 loss at Georgia Tech in the Big Ten/ACC Challenge. After trailing by 3 points at halftime, Illinois fought back to open up a 12-point advantage with 9:00 to go in the game. But the Yellow Jackets (6-3) closed the game on a 19-4 run to hand the Illini their first loss of the year.
Illinois junior Rayvonte Rice was named Big Ten Player of the Week on Monday. The Centennial grad averaged 21 points, 8 rebounds and 3 steals in a pair Illinois victories over UNLV and IPFW. Aside from the numbers, Rice's impact was huge. He made some key baskets down the stretch against UNLV and clinched the IPFW game with a late steal.
The last two games for Illinois have come down to the final seconds, but John Groce's squad continues to find ways to win. The same was true Friday night as Illinois held off IPFW 57-55 at State Farm Center. Illinois led for much of the first half, but IPFW went on a 12-0 run to take command and take a 35-27 lead into halftime. As Illinois came out for the second half, Tracy Abrams and Rayvonte Rice put the team on their backs and the defense stepped up. Abrams scored 12 of his 15 points over the final 20 minutes. Rice scored a game-high 17 points, and came up with the biggest defensive stop of the game in the final seconds. Illinois improves to 7-0 on the year.
Tonight's Illinois basketball game vs. UNLV will air LIVE at 9:45 pm on CBS Sports Network. Here's how to find it: