Illinois 81 Auburn 79 Final Score

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Fans celebrate for the United Center jumbotron after the Illini victory.

After taking a five point lead at halftime, the Fighting Illini got a scare from Auburn in the second half. At one point the Tigers had led by three. And various times during the half, the Tigers had cut huge Illini leads down to as little as two points.

Frankie Sullivan and Rob Chubb were the driving force for Auburn this afternoon. They combined for 34 points and and 10 rebounds. Forward Anthony Payne also chipped in with 10.

But Illini sophomore guard Tracy Abrams was the spark that kept Illinois ahead in the second half.  He scored a career-high 27 points and grabbed a career-high 8 rebounds. He was 6-11 from the field and went 13-15 from the free throw line.

On defense Illinois forced Auburn to commit 20 turnovers and they were able to fend off a last-minute rally by Auburn to walk out of the “Madhouse on Madison” with the two point win.

Illinois looked like a much improved team since last week’s loss to Missouri. They were aggressive on offense, they stood their ground on defense {Especially in the second half}, and they were physical all game long.

The Illini proved that they were not intimidated by an SEC team. They also proved that they continue to improve as the season goes on. They will need this confidence and momentum as their Big Ten schedule begins on Wednesday.

They will hit the road to take on Purdue who’s had their own struggles this year. They are just 5-6 and I think that the now 13-1 Illini will simply overwhelm them.

Now the real season begins….

Here is the box score from today’s game:

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