Illinois newcomers shine in exhibition season opener

Jim Cowsert-USA TODAY Sports

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
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