Illinois Routs Auburn, Improves to 8-1
By Rob McColley
A second trip to Atlanta worked out much better for the Illini men, who beat Auburn Sunday in a game that wasn't nearly as close as its 81-62 final score.
Coach John Groce had four freshmen on the court before the first media timeout of the second half.
Rayvonte Rice led the team with 22 points, despite going scoreless for the first 16 minutes.
"I was definitely mad about the loss to Georgia Tech (67-64) earlier this week (Tuesday)," he said. "We came out, got the win tonight."
But it was Tracy Abrams who led the rout. He scored 17 points, and led the Illini with 7 rebounds. His play even impressed a former NBA All-Star.
"Rayvonte's is playing well, he's a terrific scorer, but that point guard (Abrams), he controls the game," said Charles Barkley, who stood out in a crowd of about 1,500, mostly Illini fans. Barkley attended Auburn for three years.
"I think I learned the most was the response that our guys had from Tuesday night," said Illinois Coach John Groce. "I though we were really ready to go."
The 8-1 Illini are now done with Atlanta for the year. They'll play Dartmouth Tuesday night in Champaign.