Illinois newcomers shine in exhibition season opener

Jon Groce’s Illinois basketball team kicked off the Big Ten college basketball exhibition season with a commanding 101-64 win over McKendree Thursday night at the State Farm Center. More important than the final score, this was a chance for fans to see how this Illinois team would fill the void left by the departure of senior guards Brandon Paul and D.J. Richardson.

[More: Big Ten Basketball: 10 Freshmen to watch in 2013-14 ]

Junior guard Tracy Abrams scored a game-high 16 points, but it was several newcomers who impressed the most for Groce’s club.

Rayvonte Rice, who sat out the entire 2012-13 season after transferring from Drake, and true freshman Austin Colbert were the most explosive players on the floor Thursday night.

Check out Colbert’s back-to-back dunks here:

Incoming freshman Kendrick Nunn was also impressive in the win. His second-half breakaway dunk is something that Illinois basketball fans should get used to seeing in the upcoming season.

The Fighting Illini return to action on Nov. 3 when they host Northwood (MI) at 6 p.m. ET on the Big Ten Digital Network.

Check out a complete list of the 2013 Big Ten men’s basketball exhibition games that will be shown on BTDN:

Date & time
Game LIVE ON BTDN
Oct. 18 Michigan State: Midnight Madness | HIGHLIGHTS CLICK TO WATCH
Oct. 24, 8:00 PM McKendree at Illinois | LIVE GAMETRACKER | HIGHLIGHTS CLICK TO WATCH
Oct. 25 8:30 PM Iowa: Midnight Madness | HIGHLIGHTS CLICK TO WATCH
Oct. 26 7:00 PM Southern Indiana at Indiana | LIVE GAMETRACKER | HIGHLIGHTS CLICK TO WATCH
Oct. 29 7:00 PM Grand Valley State at Michigan State | LIVE GAMETRACKER | HIGHLIGHTS CLICK TO WATCH
Oct. 29 7:00 PM Concordia at Michigan | LIVE GAMETRACKER | HIGHLIGHTS CLICK TO WATCH
Oct. 30 7:00 PM Indianapolis at Purdue | LIVE GAMETRACKER | HIGHLIGHTS CLICK TO WATCH
Oct. 30 8:00 PM Wisconsin-Platteville at Wisconsin | LIVE GAMETRACKER | HIGHLIGHTS CLICK TO WATCH
Nov. 1 8:00 PM Cardinal Stritch at Minnesota | LIVE GAMETRACKER | HIGHLIGHTS CLICK TO WATCH
Nov. 3 2:00 PM Northwood (FL) at Penn State | LIVE GAMETRACKER | HIGHLIGHTS CLICK TO WATCH
Nov. 3 4:00 PM Walsh at Ohio State | LIVE GAMETRACKER | HIGHLIGHTS CLICK TO WATCH
Nov. 3 4:30 PM Augustana at Iowa | LIVE GAMETRACKER | HIGHLIGHTS CLICK TO WATCH
Nov. 3 6:00 PM Northwood (MI) at Illinois | LIVE GAMETRACKER | HIGHLIGHTS CLICK TO WATCH
Nov. 4 7:00 PM Wayne State (NE) at Purdue | LIVE GAMETRACKER | HIGHLIGHTS CLICK TO WATCH
Nov. 4 7:00 PM Indiana (PA) at Michigan State | LIVE GAMETRACKER | HIGHLIGHTS CLICK TO WATCH
Nov. 4 7:00 PM Hillsdale at Indiana | LIVE GAMETRACKER | HIGHLIGHTS CLICK TO WATCH
Nov. 4 8:00 PM Concordia-St. Paul at Minnesota | LIVE GAMETRACKER | HIGHLIGHTS CLICK TO WATCH
Nov. 4 8:00 PM Nebraska-Kearney at Nebraska | LIVE GAMETRACKER | HIGHLIGHTS CLICK TO WATCH
Nov. 6 8:15 PM Lewis at Northwestern | LIVE GAMETRACKER | HIGHLIGHTS CLICK TO WATCH

Originally from Farmington Hills, MI, I have worked at the Big Ten Network since 2012 and took over my role as web editor and blogger in August, 2013. Follow me on twitter for constant Big Ten updates @srmerriman. Thanks and enjoy!!

0 Comments

Your Opinion?
Show Comments (No Comments)

Comments are closed.