Illinois played its second exhibition game on Sunday afternoon against Northwood (Mich.) and the Fighting Illini struggled in stretches, trailing 48-47 with 13:31 to go before taking control of the contest. The 21-7 run was enough to push Illinois to an 83-67 victory, with Drake transfer Rayvonte Rice scoring a team-high 16 points. In total five Illinois players scored in double figures, with three of the five being underclassmen.
Sophomore guard Mike LaTulip scored 14 points (3-for-5 3PT) and freshmen Jaylon Tate (three assists) and Malcolm Hill (seven rebounds and three assists) accounted for 11 and ten points respectively. Illinois won the contest without the services of junior guard Tracy Abrams, who was sidelined with a mild hamstring strain according to Shannon Ryan of the Chicago Tribune.
As a sophomore Abrams averaged 10.6 points, 3.5 rebounds and 3.4 assists per game for the Fighting Illini, and with the loss of Brandon Paul and D.J. Richardson the Chicago native will be asked to produce even more for John Groce’s team. And that production isn’t solely about the box score, as the loss of those seniors (including Tyler Griffey) means that more will be required of veterans such as Abrams and redshirt senior Joe Bertrand (ten points in Sunday’s win) in the leadership department as well.
Illinois opens regular season play on Friday night against Alabama State, and they’ll play their first five games at home before visiting UNLV on November 26.
It was the most anticipated matchup of the summer.
Zion Williamson vs. LaMelo Ball.
People were turned away at the door – and LeBron James reportedly came and went – as the gym reached capacity for SC Supreme’s 104-92 victory over the Big Ballers. That’s Williamson over Ball (LaMelo and LaVar).
The game was mostly spectacle, and you can see it’s top moments right here.
LaMelo Ball vs. Zion Williamson was insane, but it wasn’t quite crazy enough to wake up the sleeping toddler that Williamson’s coach is holding in his arms:
This is peak AAU basketball.
It will never be more AAU than that.
In a showcase game in the adidas Uprising event in Las Vegas on Wednesday night, LaMelo Ball — the youngest member of the Big Baller Brand — faced off with Zion Williamson, who is a force on youtube and a highlight machine.
The crowd was insane for the game:
According to a report from ESPN, there were even concerns about whether or not the game would actually be allowed to be played; the police and fire marshall considered shutting the event down.
Williamson, of course, put on a show in warmups:
At the time of this posting, there were more than 60,000 people watching a livestream of the game on BallIsLife’s facebook page:
(UPDATE: It’s now over 70,000)
The bracket of the 2017 Puerto Rico Tip off was revealed Wednesday, setting up a showdown between a 2016 Final Four participant and the 2016 Big 12 tournament champion.
South Carolina and Iowa State headline the event, which will be played Nov. 16-19, in Fajardo, Puerto Rico.
The Gamecocks are on the top half of the bracket, opening against Illinois State while the Cyclones are on the bottom half, squaring off against Appalachian State.
Boise State vs. UTEP is the other top-half quarterfinal while Tulsa vs. Western Michigan is the other.
The championship game of the Puerto Rico Tip Off on Sunday, Nov. 19.
Just what you wanted to see, a video of former Michigan State star Denzel Valentine throwing an alley-oop off the glass to current Michigan State star Miles Bridges in a Pro-Am in Michigan: