Boston, MA (SportsNetwork.com) - Rayvonte Rice poured in 28 points as the Illinois Fighting Illini used a second half surge to down the Boston University Terriers, 66-62, in the first round of the National Invitation Tournament at Agganis Arena.
Rice knocked down 11-of-14 shots from the floor and pulled down eight rebounds for Illinois (20-14), which will take on Clemson in the second round. Malcolm Hill posted 10 points and eight boards in the victory.
D.J. Irving paced the Terriers (24-11) with 17 points on 5-of-7 efficiency from the field, while John Papale and Dom Morris chipped in 10 points apiece.
Boston took a 33-24 lead into the intermission after it made 40.7 percent of its field goal attempts, including a 7-of-15 clip from 3-point range in the opening 20 minutes of the contest. The Illini were limited to 40.9 percent shooting from the floor and hit on only 2-of-8 tries from beyond the arc in the first half.
Illinois heated up to sink 58.3 percent of its field goal tries in the second stanza while the Terriers shot 44.4 percent from the floor. Boston led 55-45 with just over nine minutes remaining in regulation, but the visitors scored the next eight points to make it a one possession game by the 5:44 mark of the second stanza. Rice tallied seven consecutive points to help Illinois take a 64-61 lead with just under a minute left before the final buzzer and Boston could not manage to score another point the rest of the way.
The Illini enjoyed a 35-23 edge in the rebounding battle and outscored the Terriers, 24-16, in the paint.