Illini win Braggin' Rights, knock off Mizzou, 65-64

Illini win Braggin' Rights, knock off Mizzou, 65-64
December 21, 2013, 8:00 pm
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Associated Press

ST. LOUIS — Tracy Abrams scored a season-best 22 points and made two free throws with 4.6 seconds to lift Illinois over No. 23 Missouri, 65-64, Saturday in the annual Braggin' Rights game.

Rayvonte Rice added 14 points for Illinois (9-2), which snapped a four-game losing streak against Missouri in the 33rd renewal of the annual neutral-court matchup.

Jordan Clarkson had 25 points, six rebounds and a career-best eight assists for Missouri (10-1), which entered the game as the lone unbeaten school in the SEC. Earnest Ross added 13 points.

Illinois scrambled on its final possession but got a bit of a break when Abrams was fouled by Johnathan Williams III driving the lane. Abrams was 7 for 10 at the line.

Illinois was unranked for the pre-Christmas game for the first time in four years and perhaps learned from a loss at No. 15 Oregon its last time out.

The last four years, the schools entered with a combined 72-7 record.

The schools traded runs in the second half that kept it tight, 10-1 by Missouri to go up by near the midway point and 9-0 by Illinois with a pair of three-point plays by Abrams for a two-point lead with 6:17 to go.

Illinois climbed out of an early hole behind 3-point shooting, hitting six of its first 10 — by six different players — and led 31-27 at the half. Missouri led 8-0 and had a nine-point cushion at 15-6 after Rice's second foul with 13:47 to go in the half.

Illinois answered with a 10-0 run the next three and a half minutes, including 3-pointers from Kendrick Nunn and Abrams, and scored seven in a row late in the half for a six-point lead ended by Clarkson's driving basket with five seconds to go.

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