Illinois, Hill roll past Southeast Missouri in opener, 81-62

CHAMPAIGN, Ill. — Malcolm Hill overcame a slow start to score 21 points and pick up eight rebounds to lead Illinois past Southeast Missouri 81-62 in the season-opener for both teams.

Hill opened the game 0 for 4 from the floor but found his touch late in the first half.

Maverick Morgan added 16 points for Illinois (1-0) and was 8 of 8 from the field. Michael Finke scored 12 and pulled down seven rebounds, while sixth-year guard Tracy Abrams scored 13 in his return after two-straight seasons out with injuries.

Southeast Missouri opened hot, riding Antonius Cleveland’s eight early points for a 25-18 lead and keeping a sparse opening-night crowd quiet.

But the Illini turned their defense up and started finding the basket, going on a 12-0 run to turn that seven-point deficit into a 30-25 lead on a 3-pointer from the left corner from guard Tracy Abrams.

Milos Vranes led Southeast Missouri with 12 points. Cleveland finished with 10.