Fighting Illini claim Braggin' Rights over Mizzou for third-straight year
Though it was a lot closer than it probably should've been, Illinois won its third straight in the Braggin' Rights game in a 68-63 win over Missouri. These games are always close, so it was seemingly too good to be true that Illinois would simply run away with this one. But the Illini (8-5) were up 50-30 with 16:16 left after Nunn hit a 3-pointer, only to watch the Tigers methodically cut into the lead until the final minute. Illinois would hold on by hitting its free throws and wouldn't need any buzzer-beating heroics from Rayvonte Rice or Tracy Abrams to take home the hardware.
"To be honest, I don't think we took that many bad shots," said Malcolm Hill, who had 21 points in a 68-63 victory over Missouri in the annual Braggin' Rights game on Wednesday night. "We didn't tie that to our defense, and I think we did a great job sticking with it."
With the Nunn-Hill scoring average at 37.2 points — third-highest scoring duo in the nation — they are threatening the UI’s best 1-2 punch in more than 40 years, which was Kendall Gill and Marcus Liberty at 37.8 in 1990.
The teams are down. No question. But it is temporary. The fans still showed up Wednesday. Much more Orange and Blue than Yellow and Black. Not in the same overall numbers as recent seasons.
Wait a year or two, [Jerry] Hester said, and the fervor will be back. "Missouri is one of the youngest teams in college basketball," he said. "Illinois has a lot of young talent.
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