A brief look at Illinois basketball’s 2013-14 season

Illinois’ Jon Ekey rises for a layup against Iowa at State Farm Center, on Feb. 1. Ekey hit a buzzer-beater to beat the Hawkeyes on Saturday.

September 28 – Illinois basketball opens its practice season with an outdoor scrimmage at the corner of Wright and Green streets following the Dad’s Day football game. 

October 17 – Illinois hosts its annual Orange and Blue Scrimmage.

November 8 – The Illini open the season with an 80-63 win over Alabama State at State Farm Center. 

November 15 – With Illinois in the midst of a four-day layoff, top-rated Chicago recruit Cliff Alexander pump faked Illini fans on live television, choosing to play for Bill Self and Kansas next season rather than come to Champaign.

November 26 – Illinois comes from behind to beat UNLV on the Rebels’ home court behind Rayvonte Rice’s 25 points. 

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    December 3 – Georgia Tech erases a 12-point deficit to beat the Illini in Atlanta. The loss was Illinois’ first of the season. 

    December 21 – Tracy Abrams sinks two free throws with 4.9 seconds remaining in the annual Braggin’ Rights game against Missouri to give Illinois a 65-64 lead. Missouri missed a final-second heave and the Illini beat the Tigers for the first time in five years. 

    Abrams on the free throws: “I went up to the line pretty confident that I was going to make them.”

    December 31 – Illinois opened Big Ten play with an overtime victory over Indiana behind Abrams’ 22 points.

    January 8 – Wisconsin beats Illinois at the Kohl Center 95-70 in what was the first of eight straight losses for Groce’s squad. 

    January 12 – Head coach John Groce characterizes Illinois’ offense as “anemic” in a 49-43 loss at Northwestern. 

    Center Nnanna Egwu: “We couldn’t make any shots.” 

    February 9 – Groce starts Kendrick Nunn and Malcolm Hill in place of Joseph Bertrand and Jon Ekey in a game at Penn State. The Illini won 60-55, snapping an eight-game losing streak. 

    March 1 – Illinois beats Michigan State in East Lansing 53-46. 

    Rice: “We’re playing our best basketball. We’re finally starting to figure it out. When people step up and contribute, you get results like this.”

    March 8 – Jon Ekey sinks a 3-pointer in the final seccond of play to beat Iowa in the season finale in Iowa City. 

    March 13 – Behind Abrams’ 25 points, Illinois beat Indiana in the opening round of the Big Ten Tournament in Indianapolis. The Illini would lose to Michigan the next day, ending any hopes for an NCAA tournament bid. 

    Groce after the loss to Michigan: “We’re improved, we’re playing really good basketball. We’ll wait to hear what our fate is Sunday.” 

    March 19 – The Illini come from behind to beat Boston University in the opening round of the NIT. 

    March 23 – Illinois loses at Clemson 50-49 in the NIT second round, bringing an end to the season.