CHAMPAIGN, Ill. -- 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.
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.