Coach Groce has equaled the best start for a UI coach since World War II.
Nov. 25, 2012
Illinois 63, Gardner-Webb 62
Illinois Postgame Notes
November 25, 2012 // Assembly Hall, Champaign, Ill. // Attendance: 12,565
1. Illinois improved to 7-0 on the season, marking the second-straight season that the Illini have started a season at least 7-0. Last year's team started 10-0 before falling to UNLV on Dec. 17, 2011.
2. First-year Illini head coach John Groce becomes the first coach to start his UI career 7-0 since Harry Combes started 7-0 in 1947, his first season with the Illini. Combes lost his eighth game, meaning Groce has equaled the best start to a UI coaching career since World War II. Fletcher Lane won his first 12 games at Illinois (1907-08), although 11 of those 12 victories came against club teams.
3. With today's win, the Illini have now won 18-straight home games against non-conference opponents. Their last loss was March 24, 2010, against Dayton in the NIT. The last regular season non-conference home loss for the Illini was against Clemson on Dec. 2, 2008, a string of 30 straight games.
4. Senior forward Tyler Griffey hit a three-pointer with 4.4 seconds left to give the Illini a 63-62 lead and then Gardner-Webb missed a potential game-winner at the buzzer. It marks the second time in the last five games that an Illini has hit a three in the last five seconds for a victory. D.J. Richardson hit a three as time expired in overtime at Hawaii on Nov. 16 to give Illinois a 78-77 win.
5. When Gardner-Webb took a 4-2 lead at 15:00 mark of the first half, it snapped a string of 125 consecutive minutes without trailing for the Illini. After winning at the buzzer at Hawaii on Nov. 16 Illinois won three straight games in the Maui Invitational without trailing for one second in 120 minutes of action.
6. Illinois had a balanced attack, as four different players scored 13 points to share the scoring lead against Gardner-Webb. Joseph Bertrand, Griffey, Brandon Paul and Richardson all scored 13 to lead the Illini.
7. Paul and Richardson continued to climb the UI all-time scoring chart. Paul moved past Roger Powell (2002-05) and into 30th place with 1,187 career points, while Richardson moved past two big names in Deron Williams (2003-05) and Kenny Battle (1988-89) and is now tied with Bill Burwell (1961-63) for 38th-place with 1,119.