ATLANTA — Rayvonte Rice scored 22 points Sunday, when he and Illinois shot at a torrid pace on the way to routing Auburn 81-62 in Philips Arena.
This was considered a “home” game for Auburn, which last year played Illinois in Chicago’s United Center as a visiting team.
The Illini (8-1) made a season-high 12 3-pointers on 23 attempts (52.2 percent) and shot 61.5 percent from the field (32 of 52). Illinois also held the SEC’s leading scorer, Auburn’s Chris Denson to eight points. He entered the game averaging 21.8, but made just three of seven shots Sunday.
Article continues below ...
Tracy Abrams added a season-high 17 points for Illinois, and Jon Ekey poured in 14 while making 4 of 6 from beyond the arc.
Auburn (4-3) was led by KT Harrell’s 23 points, and freshman Tahj Shamsid-Deen added 13 in a return to his hometown.
Abrams was in the middle of just about everything that Illinois did on the way to a 41-17 halftime lead. He hit 3-of-5 3-pointers — including one at the buzzer — and scored 11 points while grabbing four rebounds with two assists and a pair of steals.
The Illini defense was stifling as well, limiting the Tigers to just 26 percent shooting over the first 20 minutes. Auburn missed all four of its trey tries and Denson was held to four points.
Illinois scored the final 11 points of the first half.
The Illini’s previous high for 3-pointers made was 10, against Bradley, in an 81-55 win on Nov. 17.