Dec. 3, 2011
Illinois 82, No. 19 Gonzaga 75
Illinois Postgame Notes
Dec. 3, 2011 // Assembly Hall; Champaign, Ill. // Attendance: 15,879
1. With the win, Illinois starts the season 8-0 for the first time since 2005-06 and extended its regular season non-conference home winning streak to 23 games. The Illini won their 11th consecutive December home game and improved to 29-3 in December home games under head coach Bruce Weber.
2. The victory snapped a five-game losing streak for Illinois against ranked opponents, with the last win over a ranked foe coming on Jan. 18, 2011 vs. No. 17 Michigan State. It also was the highest ranked non-conference team Illinois has knocked off at home since topping No. 1 Wake Forest on Dec. 1, 2004.
3. In a battle of two seven-foot centers, Meyers Leonard outdueled Gonzaga's Robert Sacre, as the sophomore turned in the most efficient game by an Illini this season with a game-high 21 points on 9-of-11 shooting from the field. He also had six rebounds and one block on the Gonzaga big man.
4. The Illini shut down Sacre in the second half, holding him to just two points and drawing all five of his fouls in that stanza. He was held scoreless for over 20 minutes from 4:22 in first half until 4:13 in the second frame before fouling out with 3:38 remaining. Sacre had 14 of his 16 points in the first half and pulled down a season-low two rebounds.
5. D.J. Richardson hit a season-high four three-pointers at key junctures on his way to 19 points, one shy of his career high.
6. Two other Illini reached double figures, including 13 from Brandon Paul and 10 from Sam Maniscalco, who had five in the final 2:25 and finished with a season-best six assists and four steals, the most by an Illini this season.
7. Illinois, who only trailed twice (0-2 and 4-6), used a pair of runs to open up leads after Gonzaga tied it at 26 and at 38. The Illini went on an 8-0 spurt from 7:05 to 6:02 to take a 34-26 lead in the first half. After the Bulldogs evened the contest at the start of the second half, the Orange and Blue's 7-0 run opened up a 45-38 advantage with 15:54 remaining. The Illini never lost the lead the rest of the way.
8. The Orange and Blue shot over 50 percent for the third time this season, hitting 32-of-60 (53.3 percent) from the field.
9. Illinois, who has topped all eight opponents this year in points in the paint, outscored the Bulldogs 36-32 underneath the basket.
10. The Illini received quality minutes off the bench from Crandall Head, Ibby Djimde and Myke Henry to close the first half with a 38-36 lead after the Illini frontcourt got in foul trouble. All 12 Illini scholarship players available to play entered the contest in the first half.