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Indiana rolls as Illini drop sixth in a row 56-46

Indiana's Troy Williams (5) dunks against Illinois' NnannEgwu (32) during first half an NCAA college basketball game Sunday Jan. 26

Indiana's Troy Williams (5) dunks against Illinois' Nnanna Egwu (32) during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game, Sunday, Jan. 26, 2014, in Bloomington, Ind. (AP Photo/Darron Cummings)

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Updated: January 26, 2014 4:14PM

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. — It’s not that Illinois played poorly. This team can’t shoot, so all the misses from near and far were to be expected. No doubt, the Illini competed hard at Indiana.

On a different day, in a different year, it might’ve been good enough to get a victory.

Not this season, though.

Not this hard-luck bunch.

Indiana’s star players didn’t really show up for this one, but it didn’t hurt the Hoosiers. Illinois had no-show performances of its own, plus an apparent injury to junior point guard Tracy Abrams. The Illini were beaten for the sixth game in a row, 56-46.

About that six-game losing streak: It’s the longest for an Illini team since the great collapse of 2012, when Bruce Weber’s final ride ended in abject disaster. That team went from 15-3 to out of the postseason — no NCAA Tournament, no NIT, no nothing — losing 12 of its last 14 Big Ten games. Bye-bye, Bruce.

Not even that team lost seven in a row, though. That hasn’t happened to an Illinois team in 15 years, since Lon Kruger’s lone losing season as coach.

Saturday in Champaign against Iowa, current coach John Groce will be looking dead in the face at ol’ No. 7.

On a day when the Illini shot just 33.3 percent from the field, at least guard Rayvonte Rice got going again. He was 7-for-11 and scored 20 points.

IU’s Yogi Ferrell and Noah Vonleh combined for just four first-half points, but the Hoosiers led 26-24 at the break anyway. Ferrell finished with 17, several coming late on free throws.

The Illini’s last lead came on a three-pointer by Jon Ekey that made the score 29-28. The Hoosiers answered with a 12-point run.

Illinois dropped to 13-8 overall and 2-6 in Big Ten play.


Twitter: @slgreenberg

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