Mizzou sends Illinois to 1st loss of season

ST. LOUIS — Illinois is no longer undefeated.

To pour salt, red pepper and wasabi into the wounds, the No. 10 Illini’s first loss of the season came at the hands of rival No. 12 Missouri 82-73 in the Braggin’ Rights series.

The loss is a fourth straight to Missouri.

Tigers guard Phil Pressey converted some key plays and their big men dominated.

Illinois attacked the basket, played physical on defense and picked up the slack on rebounding in the second half. But the shots were not falling.

Illinois made just 25 of 74 from the field in a breakneck-paced game, including only 8 of 32 on 3-pointers.

Illinois senior forward Tyler Griffey, a St. Louis area native, made back to back 3-pointers to put the Illini behind 72-70 but the Tigers went on a 7-0 run with less than 2 minutes remaining to pull ahead.

Illinois center Nnanna Egwu played the best game of his career with his first double double and a personal best 12 points and nine rebounds.

The Tigers still dominated inside with big men Alex Oriakhi (13 points, 14 rebounds) and Laurence Bowers (23 points, seven rebounds).

Brandon Paul led the Illini with 23 points.

The Illini had earlier erased Missouri’s nine-point lead to go up 64-61 in the second half but Mizzou used a 9-0 run to go up 70-64 with 4:10 remaining.

By Shannon Ryan, Tribune reporter
Copyright © 2012 Chicago Tribune Company, LLC

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