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November 22, 2013
After opening the season with four games in nine days, 4-0 Illinois plays its lone game in an eight-day stretch, hosting 2-3 Chicago State on Friday night, and extended their 2013-14 streak to 5, defeating the Cougars 77-53. This victory gives the Illini their third consecutive season with a record of 5-0.
Senior Jon Ekey was the spark the team needed Friday night against Chicago State, as he lit things up on the court including a put back dunk, and back-to-back threes. WATCH!
“Different coaches, different systems,” Ekey said. “These coaches play a little bit differently, which I fit into a little bit better than the system they have over there [at Illinois State.] It’s great at this level to be able to do that, it’s one of those things that the coaches have been talking about ever since I got on campus. That’s why they recruited me when I left over there. It’s what they’ve been talking about to me every day, going out there, taking the open ones and don’t pass up shots. Just been a work in progress that’s kind of accumulated.”
Ekey led the way with 19 points and snagged 6 boards, followed by a trio of players who added 12 points including Joseph Bertrand, Tracy Abrams and Rayvonte Rice. Bertrand snagged 8 boards.
Coming off a 5-of-7 three-point shooting performance against Bradley on Sunday, Ekey again hit five threes to bail out the Illini against the lingering Chicago State team. After the Cougars pulled within four (55-51) with eight minutes left in the ball game, Ekey got his spark started with a dunk 30 seconds later, and didn’t look back.
On the other side of the court, the Cougars’ Clarke Rosenberg led the way with 16 points, followed by Matt Ross who added 13. Eddie Denard snagged 5 boards.
The Cougars shot 18-45 (40.0%) from the floor while Illini shot 26-54 (48.1%). Home team also controlled the boards with a 39-20 margin.
Up next for Illinois is a trip west to face UNLV, November 26.
Up next for Chicago State is Southern Illinois, November 30 at 205pm on their home campus. The game can also be heard on the world-famous WVON 1690AM.
Illinois is now 13-0 in November under head coach John Groce and has won its last 24 games overall in the month of November.
Series Notes vs. Chicago State
Series Record: Illinois leads 10-0
Last Meeting: Illinois 90, Chicago State 43 (Nov. 27, 2011 at Champaign)
Series Streak: Illinois W-10
Record at Champaign: Illinois leads 10-0
Series Streak at Champaign: Illinois W-10
Groce vs. Chicago State: First meeting
In case you missed it, senior guard Joseph Bertrand posterizes a Chicago State defender with a one-handed slam! Click here to view it.
It’s great that he did that, we definitely needed it at that point in the game,” Bertrand said. “He kind of turned the switch on and hit a couple threes, that tip dunk was crazy. I think that really gave us a boost in the second half so it was great that he did it.”
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