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Sunday, December 14, 2014

Five Things To Take Away From Oregon's 77-70 Win Over Illinois



Here are five things to take away from Oregon’s 77-70 win over Illinois at the United Center:

1) Rayvonte Rice’s 29 Points Not Enough:

Rice scored a game and career-high 29 on 9-of-16 from the field and 5-for-7 from three-point range for Illinois (7-3), but his individual stats were the furthest thing from his mind.

“I just wanted to come out with the win,” Rice said.

Those words are an encouraging sign that Rice is willing to sacrifice himself for the rest of the team.

Outside of Rice’s phenomenal effort, the next highest scorer was Nnanna Egwu with ten points and tied a game-high with seven rebounds.
In a somber mood, Egwu realized everyone must step up if the Illini want to contend in Big Ten Conference play.

“We all have to play as hard as we can and get things figured out,” Egwu said.

2) Oregon’s Joseph Young Did Not Start:

Despite coming off the bench due to a violation in which Oregon coach Dana Altman would not elaborate on, Young managed to produce 15 points and grab four rebounds in 33 minutes.

Young came into Saturday’s game as the Ducks’ leading scorer averaging 20.6 points.

3) The Emergence Of Dillon Brooks:

The freshman from Mississauga, Ontario, Canada put on a show as he headlined five Oregon (6-3) players scoring in double figures with a career-high 24.

Even in the win, Altman still believes that Brooks’ potential has yet to be realized.

“You never know how a freshman responds,” Altman said. “If his consistency improves in practice, he can be a special player.”

4) Points In The Paint:

Oregon’s ability to penetrate to the rim turned out to be the difference as it outscored Illinois 40 to 20 in the paint.

Illinois coach John Groce gave credit to Oregon for its ability to attack the rim.

“If you can get to the ball different ways and I think the most difficult thing to guard is dribble penetration and Oregon was great at it tonight,” Groce said.

5) Illini Blow Double-Digit Lead:

Despite leading by as many as 13 points with 4:12 left in the first half, Illinois could not hold on as a 20-point swing in the game’s last 24:12 cost them a chance to redeem itself from the Dec. 9 loss against Villanova.

Looking Ahead:

Both teams are back in action on Dec, 17 as Illinois will look to snap a two-game losing streak as it hosts Hampton at the State Farm Arena in Champaign, Ill., while Oregon returns home to play against Cal State Northridge at the Matthew Night Arena in Eugene, Ore.

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Follow Eugene Evans on Twitter @GenoSportsguy.

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