2012 Illinois vs Auburn

Posted on December 29, 2012. Filed under: Football, NCAA Sports | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

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Fighting Illini defeat SEC’s Auburn Tigers…..

December 29, 2012

FINAL: Illinois 81, Auburn 79.

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The 12th-ranked Illinois team gets back on track snagging a victory today against SEC’s Auburn Tigers at the world-famous United Center.

Sophomore Tracy Abrams leads all players with 27 and 8 rebounds. What a difference a year makes? In last years’ contest here at the United Center, he didn’t have any points but this year, he’s hot 4-7 from the floor, 2-3 from behind the arc, and perfect at the charity stripe 6-6.

“I was pushing the ball more than I did in any other game of the season,” Abrams said. “We’ve been pushing the ball lately in practice. I wanted to start the game like that.”

His teammate, Brandon Paul added 13 to seal the deal.

“We have a lot more weapons and a lot more confidence,” said Paul after the game.

Auburn is led by the play of Frankie Sullivan who knocked down 18. One stat the Tigers dominate with in the first half was boards 20-12, of which they are beating Illini 8-3 on offensive grabs.

So, can the Illini hold off the stingy Tigers and get their first victory here at the United Center in their last three games? Stay tune….

The Fighting Illini come into this contest tied for tops in the nation with 9.8 3-pointers per game, and with leading scorer Brandon Paul (19.2) are focused to get back to their style of play and become more efficient from beyond the arc.

“We just have to get a little better with the execution stuff,” coach John Groce said.

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On the other side of the court, Auburn comes in 5-6 record, of which their last four games against Grambling, Furman, Tennessee Tech and Winthrop, limited them to a combined 17 of 83 (20.5 percent) from 3-point range in winning three of their last four.

“Illinois is a very talented team coming off a tough loss to Missouri,” Auburn coach Tony Barbee said. “The entire team is capable of making 3-point shots and can go off.”

Guard Frankie Sullivan, the team’s scoring leader (16.9), will try to build off a 22-point effort after nearly leading the Tigers to a comeback victory from 16 down.

“It is very exciting,” said Sullivan of playing the Illini. “We have an opportunity to put a good win on our resume. It is going to be a great challenge, and we will be up for the challenge.”

Chris Denson, another high-scoring guard, has given the team a boost after being academically ineligible the fall semester. The junior has averaged 17.0 points while shooting 57.5 percent from the floor in his first four games after finishing with 18 on 6 of 13 shooting against the Eagles.

This is the last non-Big Ten contest for Illinois before they open up conference play at Purdue on Jan. 2.

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FUN FACTS

Illinois defeated Auburn in the only other meeting between the teams, 107-103 in overtime in the championship game of the Illini Classic on Dec. 12, 1987.

While the Illini have dropped three straight and five of six at the United Center, the Tigers have lost eight straight overall against ranked opponents.

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