Illini Still Undefeated With Win Over Valparaiso
By Rob McColley
John Ekey fought with a much bigger front court, and came up with 15 rebounds, leading Illinois to a 64-52 win over Valparaiso Wednesday night.
Rayvonte Rice’s aggressive play earned him a game-high 18 points, and grabbed 8 rebounds in what he called an agressive night.
"The coach told us: 'don't play with fear' - just being agressive the whole game," he said. "It's something he wants us all to do, so that's what I try to do."
Former Illini from the 2005 Final Four team, and Crusaders Assistant Coach Roger Powell, predicted this Illinois team will see some growing pains.
"It's going to take some for them to gel," he said. "A little time for them to get used to basketball. And once they get into the Big Ten Conference, it's going to be a shock for them, to be honest. I think they get down the floor really well. Ravonte's a great player. He's a great addition. It's going to take time for them to adjust, to get used to playing."
Before the game, the Illini received signed letters of intent from three prospects - Leron Black of Memphis, and Quentin Snider of Louisville joined Champaign’s Michael Finke in the 2014 class of recruits.
Illinois returns to action Sunday versus Bradley. That game tips at 5 p.m.
UPDATE: The News-Gazette reports Friday that Snider has changed his mind, and is considering an offer from Louisville.