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Ekey leads Illinois past Chicago State 77-53

AP - Sports
Ekey leads Illinois past Chicago State 77-53

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Chicago State's Clarke Rosenberg, right, brings down a defensive rebound despite Illinois' Joseph Bertrand …

CHAMPAIGN, Ill. (AP) -- Jon Ekey scored 19 points for the second consecutive game to lead Illinois to an easy 77-53 win over Chicago State on Friday.

The 6-foot-7 forward went 5 of 8 from the three-point stripe, nearly duplicating his line score from Sunday's win over Bradley. Ekey single-handedly carried the Illini (5-0) in the game's final minutes on Friday. Joseph Bertrand, Tracy Abrams and Rayvonte Rice each added 12 points. Center Nnanna Egwu grabbed a game-high 9 rebounds.

Illinois jumped out to a 12-2 start and led 33-26 at the half. The Cougars pulled to within four, 55-51, on a three-pointer by Matt Ross with 8:00 left in the game. Ekey then hit a layup, two 3-pointers and a monster dunk over the next two minutes to spur a 10-0 Illini run which put the game out of reach.

The Illini out-rebounded Chicago State 39-20. Chicago State had only nine rebounds in the first half. Illinois outscored Chicago State 26-12 in the paint, thanks to a 14-4 offensive rebounding advantage.

Junior guard Clarke Rosenberg led the Cougars (2-4) with 16 points while Matt Ross added 13. Forward Eddie Denard grabbed five rebounds to lead Chicago State.

Illinois has held opponents to just 59 points per game coming into Friday's contest. Chicago State's 40-percent shooting was the most allowed by Illinois this season.

The Illini has started the season 5-0 for the third consecutive year. Illinois has played Chicago State 11 times over the years, and has won every game.

Illinois, which closed out a five-game home stand Friday, will play at UNLV on Tuesday. Chicago State will play Southern Illinois at home on Nov. 30.

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