Rayvonte Rice scored 22 points and had nine rebounds in his debut to lead Illinois to a season-opening 80-63 win over Alabama State on Friday.
Rice is a Champaign native but spent two seasons at Drake before transferring to Illinois (1-0).
The hometown kid made the most of his chance Friday.
He scored seven points over a three-minute span early in the second half to push Illinois' lead to a commanding 54-37.
Nnanna Egwu had a double-double for Illinois with 10 points and 10 rebounds. Joseph Bertrand scored 14.
Jamel Waters led Alabama State (0-1) with 27 points. He was 5-of-6 from 3-point range.
The Illini host Jacksonville State on Sunday. The Hornets will travel across Illinois to face Bradley.