CHAMPAIGN -- Rayvonte Rice scored 18 points and Illinois fought off a second-half charge by Valparaiso Wednesday for a 64-52 win.
The Illini (3-0) led by eight at halftime. But the Crusaders (2-1) clawed back to within two at 49-47 with an 8-0 run capped by a 3-pointer by Bobby Capobianco with 6:43 to play.
Then Illinois guards Tracy Abrams and Rayvonte Rice scored on back-to-back drives into the paint on the much bigger Crusaders to give the Illini a 54-47 lead, part of an 11-1 run that stood up.
After Capobianco's shot the cold-shooting Crusaders scored just that single point over the next five-plus minutes.
Both teams spent the night missing far more than they made, some of it the result of tough defense and some of just cold shooting. Illinois hit 31.8 percent of its shots and Valparaiso 32.7.
At least five of the Crusaders misses were air balls.
Illinois opened the second half playing fast, running at the bigger Crusaders. But over the first six and a half minutes, all that pace did was turn an eight-point halftime lead into a nine-point edge at 45-36.
Then the Crusaders started climbing back.
Alex Peters' layup in traffic on the baseline made it 47-39 with 9:06 to play, and the game felt closer than that.
The Crusaders outscored the Illini 8-2 over the next two and a half minutes before Abrams and Rice took control for Illinois.
Brown, Southern Miss top DePaul
ROSEMONT -- Aaron Brown scored all of his team-high 13 points in the second half and Southern Miss defeated host DePaul 75-68 in the CBE Hall of Fame Classic at Allstate Arena Wednesday night.
Michael Craig finished with 12 points and eight rebounds while Daveon Boardingham had 12 points and seven rebounds. Southern Miss (2-0) didn't start a player taller than 6-7, yet finished with a 36-29 rebounding advantage over the Blue Demons, who started three players taller than 6-7.
Brandon Young led DePaul (1-1) with a game-high 23 points and had a team-high six rebounds in the loss. Cleveland Melvin had 16 points while freshman Billy Garrett had a game-high eight assists.
The Golden Eagles led by as many as 11 points in the second half after falling behind 21-9 to start the game. DePaul made three of its first five 3-pointers but the Southern Miss zone defense worked out in the long run as DePaul finished 7 of 26 behind the arc.
UIC crushes Roosevelt
Junior Marc Brown scored a career-high 25 points to lead UIC to an 87-65 defeat of Roosevelt on Wednesday night.
Brown led all players for the second-consecutive game, hitting 11 of 14 from the floor with two rebounds, two assists and two steals. He was also 2 of 2 from the 3-point line. Kelsey Barlow scored 11 points with four rebounds, five assists and two steals. Jake Wiegand chipped in with nine points and five rebounds.
The Flames (1-1) went on a 17-4 run early in the second half and never looked back. The team was averaging 51.5 percent from the floor in the first half but rose to hit over 70 percent in the second.
The Lakers were 46 percent from the floor overall. Korey Ryan led the scoring for Roosevelt with 23 points, hitting 8 of 9 from the floor and six of 7 from the 3-point line.