Rayvonte Rice hit a 3-pointer at the buzzer to lift the Illini to a 62-59 victory against Missouri in the annual Braggin' Rights game on Saturday at the Scottrade Center.
The win is the second-straight for Illinois (9-3) in the Braggin' Rights rivalry game. Last year the Illini prevailed 65-64 on late free throws by Tracy Abrams, who is out for the season with injury. The win also snapped a four-game losing skid against the Tigers (5-6).
Rice finished with 19 points on 7 of 15, seven rebounds and three assists. After Wesley Clark's jumper from the key tied it with 17.8 seconds remaining, Illinois left the game in Rice's hands. He dribbled for several seconds before stepping up the key and drilling a fade-away shot over defenders Keith Shamburger and Johnathan Williams III.
Williams had 15 points and eight rebounds for Missouri. Clark added 11 points, five rebounds and three assists.
Ahmad Starks added 13 points and Malcolm Hil had 10 for Illinois, who entered the pre-Christmas rivarly for the second straight season unranked. It was just the eighth time in 34 games in the series neither team was ranked.
The Illini went 4 for 18 from beyond the arc. Starks topped double figures for the first time in nine games. He entered averaging 7.3 points per game.
Illinois broke out the "Flying Illini" throwbacks and coach John Groce donned his orange suit jacket. Usually the crowd is evenly split, half clad in orange and the other in screaming yellow. This year it was 65-35 in Illinois' favor.
The Illini will be back in action in one week as they take on the visiting Kennesaw State (4-7) at the State Farm Center to close out 2014.