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(Tuesday, December 31st)
Final Score: Illinois 83, Indiana 80 (OT)
Champaign, IL (SportsNetwork.com) - Rayvonte Rice knocked down a pair of free throws with two seconds remaining in overtime to help secure an 83-80 win for Illinois versus Indiana in the Big Ten Conference opener for both programs at State Farm Center.
Rice finished the outing with 29 points, shooting 8-of-20 from the field and 11-of-15 at the free-throw line for the Fighting Illini (12-2, 1-0 Big Ten) as they won their third straight and the fifth in the last six outings. Tracy Abrams pitched in with 17 points and Joseph Bertrand 13 and seven rebounds, his efforts on the glass one shy of Rice.
The Hoosiers (10-4, 0-1) were paced by Kevin Ferrell who poured in a game-high 30 points, converting 5-of-8 shots beyond the arc and all seven of his free- throw tries. Before fouling out, Noah Vonleh contributed 16 points, nine rebounds and four blocked shots, while Evan Gordon produced 10 points off the bench for an Indiana team which had a two-game win streak come to an end.
Thanks to a couple of free throws by Rice at the 9:00 mark of the first half, Illinois moved out to an eight-point advantage at 21-13, but a flurry of scoring in the final minutes of the period left the teams knotted at 39-39 following a 3-pointer by Will Sheehey. The Hoosiers made good on 6-of-12 shots beyond the arc in the period, compared to an 0-of-7 showing by the hosts.
In the second half Indiana managed to move out to a seven-point edge at the 11:42 mark, but the team needed two free throws by Ferrell with 48 seconds remaining in regulation to send the game into overtime tied at 71-71.
In the bonus session Illinois took the early lead and, aside from a 75-75 tie with just under two minutes left, never looked back as it held on for the win at home.
A seesaw battle throughout, featuring 17 ties and 12 lead changes, the Illini managed to come out ahead despite shooting only 2-of-17 behind the 3-point line.
12/31 18:15:32 ET
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