Illini Hold Special #ILLINIALLIN Scrimmage

Posted:
CHAMPAIGN (via FightingIllini.com) -- Coach John Groce and the Fighting Illini basketball team welcomed a capacity crowd of 300 fans to the Ubben Basketball Practice Facility on Sunday afternoon for #ILLINIALLIN.

Fans were selected to attend this exclusive event by completing a self-nomination ballot online or by tweeting their interest to @IlliniHoops. Those in attendance got a courtside or balcony view of the team as it competed in a series of three 10-minute scrimmages. Prior to the scrimmage, fans were served lunch and received a complimentary Nike dri-fit Illini hat, poster and roster card. The event concluded with an autograph session where fans had their posters signed and took photos with the players and Coach Groce. Those not in attendance were able to watch the scrimmage in its entirety via a livestream online at FightingIllini.com.

"The 'Illini All In' event was great for our players," Groce said. "Anytime you can have - this early in the season - the opportunity to play in front of a crowd, it simulates the game more. The environment was terrific in here, the event was very well organized, and it was really beneficial for our team moving forward. I thought it was a big hit."

The scrimmage consisted of three quarters, with each quarter contested as its own game. The rosters changed each quarter, giving the coaching staff a look at a number of different lineups and allowing some players the opportunity to play different positions over the course of the scrimmage.

The Orange team was victorious in all three quarters. It started with a 15-6 victory in the first quarter, as the Orange lineup of Ahmad Starks, Aaron Cosby, Rayvonte Rice, Malcolm Hill, Nnanna Egwu, Michael Finke and Cameron Liss defeated the Blue squad of Jaylon Tate, Mike LaTulip, Alex Austin, Leron Black, Maverick Morgan and Austin Colbert. Rice scored a team-high six points in the opening quarter, followed by Egwu with five and Black with four.

The Orange roster of Tate, Rice, Hill, Egwu, Morgan, Black and Austin recorded a 17-10 win over the Blue team of Starks, LaTulip, Cosby, Colbert, Finke and Liss in the second quarter. Hill began to heat up, scoring eight points in that quarter, followed by five from Starks and four from Egwu.

The offense took over in the third and final quarter, with the Orange unit of Starks, LaTulip, Rice, Black, Morgan, Austin and Liss notching a 24-21 victory over the Blue lineup of Tate, Cosby, Hill, Egwu, Finke and Colbert. The scrimmage ended in exciting fashion, as Hill hit a 3-pointer from the top of the key with six seconds left to make it a tie game before Rice answered with a trey from the wing at the buzzer for the Orange game winner. Hill had 10 points in the third quarter while Rice had nine and Egwu added seven.

Malcolm Hill led all scorers with 18 points on 6-of-9 shooting, including 2-of-2 on 3-pointers, and a perfect 4-of-4 from the line. Rayvonte Rice was right behind Hill with 17 points and Nnanna Egwu also finished in double figures with 16 points on 5-of-8 shooting. Like Hill, Rice and Egwu also shot it well from behind the arc and at the charity stripe. Rice connected on 3-of-6 treys and made 4-of-5 free throws, while Egwu was 2-of-4 from three and made all four of his free throw attempts.

As a team, the Illini shot 40 percent from the field (33-83), 30 percent from 3-point range (9-30) and 90 percent from the free throw line (18-20). The accuracy improved as the scrimmage wore on, with the Illini shooting 50 percent from the field (16-32) and 45 percent from three (5-11) in the final quarter.

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