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Illini band together after elbow to head

CHAMPAIGN – Introducing his players to the 1989 Flyin' Illini Final Four team on Friday night, Illinois coach John Groce had hoped they would be inspired by how close those teammates remain 25 years later. "They had each other's back," Groce said. "Hopefully that was the No. 1 lesson they got out of it." Illinois displayed the loyalty in a literal way Saturday, when the bench cleared to defend Kendrick Nunn – who Penn State's D.J. Newbill hit in the head – in the Illini's 75-55 victory over the Nittany Lions. Newbill ultimately was ejected, and the Illini banded together in another way: They maintained their composure.

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