Rayvonte Rice Leads Illinois With 24 Points in Win over Georgia Southern

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CHAMPAIGN, Ill. (AP) -- Rayvonte Rice scored 24 points to lead sluggish Illinois to an 80-71 season-opening win over Georgia Southern Friday.

After opening up an early 11-point edge, the Illini (1-0) never led by double-figures again until the game's final minute.

Aaron Cosby added to the offense in his Illinois debut. The transfer from Seton Hall scored 16 points.

Georgia Southern gave the Illini trouble on the boards. The Eagles outrebounded Illinois 41-34 and used 19 second-chance points to stay close most of the night.

But the Eagles sent Illinois to the free throw line again and again. The Illini were 27 of 34 from the line. Sophomore Malcolm Hill was 7 of 10 and finished with 11 points.

Jelani Hewitt led the Eagles with 22 points, eight rebounds and eight assists. Trent Wiedeman added 17 points and a game-high nine rebounds.
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