ST. LOUIS - Tracy Abrams scored 22 points, including a pair of free throws for the lead with 4.6 seconds left, as the Illini handed the Tigers their first loss of the season in the annual Braggin' Rights Game in St. Louis.
Rayvonte Rice scored 14 points and Jon Ekey hit a huge 3-pointer down the stretch for Illinois (10-2), which snapped a four-game losing streak in the rivalry. Abrams, who scored 14 points in the second half, finished 7-of-16 from the floor and grabbed six rebounds.
Jordan Clarkson tallied 25 points and eight assists to lead Missouri (10-1), but mishandled the inbound pass on the Tigers' final possession and Tony Criswell had to settle for a long, off-balance 3-point attempt that was well off the mark. Earnest Ross collected 13 points and eight rebounds and Jabari Brown added 10 points and seven boards.
Missouri used a 14-2 run midway through the second half to open a 53-46 advantage before Abrams led Illinois back, converting a pair of three-point plays and knocking down a mid-range jumper during a 9-0 spurt. The lead changed hands seven times in the final 6 1/2 minutes, with Brown draining a 3-pointer from the right corner for a 64-63 Missouri lead before Abrams drove the lane and drew the foul on Illinois' last possession.
The Tigers started out hot and raced to a 15-6 lead before getting sloppy and letting the Illini charge back. Illinois knocked down six 3-pointers in the half and took advantage of 10 Missouri turnovers to take a 31-27 halftime lead.
GAME NOTEBOOK: Rice has scored at least 12 points in every game this season. … Clarkson has scored 20 or more points seven times this season. … Ross went over 1,000 points in his career between Auburn and Missouri.
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