Illinois tops Boston University in NIT opener

Illinois tops Boston University in NIT opener

(AP) Rayvonte Rice scored seven straight points late in the game and finished with a game-high 28, rallying Illinois past Boston University 66-62 on Wednesday night in the first round of the NIT.

The second-seeded Illini fought back from a 30-13 first-half deficit. Rice made the key play with 2:07 left when his steal and three-point play trimmed it to 61-60. He added two free throws and a driving layup to give Illinois a 64-61 lead.

Dom Morris missed a contested layup on an inbounds play with 11 seconds left that would have tied it for BU, the regular-season champion in the Patriot League. Nnanna Egwu added two free throws to ice it for Illinois (20-14), which advances to play No. 3 seed Clemson in the second round. Malcolm Hill had 10 points for the Illini.

It was the first meeting between Illinois and BU (24-11), which was seeking its first win in the NIT after five losses. D.J. Irving had 17 points for the seventh-seeded Terriers and point guard Maurice Watkins had seven points and 12 assists.

ILLINOIS 66, BOSTON UNIVERSITY 62 | RECAP | BOX | PLAY-BY-PLAY

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