Illini Open Exhibition Season, 101-66 Over McKendree
By Rob McColley
The Illini men topped McKendree University 101 to 66 Thursday night in the exhibition opener, at Champaign’s State Farm Center.
Tracy Abrams led the Illini with 16 points, despite sustaining an ankle injury in the game's opening minutes.
While Abrams hobbled to the locker room, freshman Jaylon Tate took over at the point, and eventually, the entire game.
Tate played a team-high 25 minutes, finishing with 13 points and three assists. But his key contribution was running the offense, according to Coach John Groce.
"He's got an ability to lead and communicate," he said. "He loves to learn. A student of the game. Makes good decisions. Has accepted his role. Sometimes it's difficult for freshman to do that. He's accepted it, he understands what we need him to do out there, and thought tonight he good some good things for us."
Rayvonte Rice and Jon Ekey added 13 and 12 points, respectively, for the Illini.