ST. LOUIS – Rayvonte Rice pulled his jersey over his head during the celebration, showing off an Illinois tattoo.
It was a big game, Rice said after Illinois beat No. 23 Missouri 65-64 in the annual Braggin’ Rights game Saturday.
Rice got a chance to celebrate because teammate Tracy Abrams kept his emotions in check. Abrams made two free throws with 4.6 seconds left for the decisive points.
I was very confident, Abrams said. I went to the line confident I’d make them.
Abrams scored a season-best 22 points and Rice added 14 points for Illinois (10-2), which snapped a four-game losing streak in the 33rd renewal of the annual neutral-court matchup.
The emotion of that environment can get you to maybe do some things or make a play that’s not there, that’s the one thing I’ve come to understand, said Illinois coach John Groce, who’s 1-1 in the series.
A lot of times it comes down to toughness and players making plays.
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.
Missouri coach Frank Haith said twice that his players would be sick when they reviewed the game.
It is emotionally draining, Clarkson said. That’s a tough way to lose. But we got to have short-term memory.
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.
Jabari Brown’s 3-pointer with 15 seconds to go gave Missouri a 64-63 lead and answered a 3-pointer from Illinois’ Jon Ekey with 48 seconds left.
Missouri mishandled its final possession. Tony Criswell’s inbounds pass was behind Clarkson and Criswell ended up with a desperation 3-point attempt.
MICHIGAN 68, STANFORD 65: In New York, Nik Stauskas scored 19 points, and made two crucial free throws with 9 seconds left, leading the Wolverines (7-4) at the Barclays Center.
Forward Glenn Robinson III added 17 for the Wolverines, who took care of the basketball and had only eight turnovers.
Chasson Randle led the Cardinal (8-3) with 18.
NEBRASKA 77, THE CITADEL 62: In Lincoln, Neb., Terran Petteway had 27 points, including a mid-second half dunk that gave the Cornhuskers (8-3) the lead for good. Nebraska outscored The Citadel (4-9) 26-11 in the final 11 minutes.