Illinois Game Notes vs. Ohio State
Jan. 1, 2008
Champaign, Ill. -
FIGHTING ILLINI BASKETBALL
On the Air
Illini Probable Starters
F - 23 Rodney Alexander (Jr., 6-7, 225, 5.9 ppg, 3.7 rpg) -OR-
Off the Bench
Illinois Head Coach Bruce Weber
Ohio State Head Coach: Thad Matta
Series Notes: Ohio State
The teams will meet again this month as Illinois plays at Ohio State on Jan. 22.
Illini in Big Ten Openers
Illini Notes ...
Illini opponents are averaging just 51.4 points on 33.6 percent shooting over the last five games.
Illinois has outrebounded its opponent in 10 of 13 games and ranks fourth in the Big Ten in rebound margin at +6.8 rpg.
After scoring just three points each in the two previous home games vs. Miami (OH) and Loyola (MD), Trent Meacham erupted for a game-high 24 points Sunday vs. Tennessee State. That tied the second-highest scoring total of his career, behind his career-high of 26 points set Dec. 1 vs. Weber State.
Illinois held Loyola (MD) to 20 percent shooting (13-65) last Friday, the lowest field goal percentage in the 44-year history of Assembly Hall.
Illinois' defense held Western Carolina to 35 points on Dec. 17, the third-lowest point total in Assembly Hall history and just one point off the record-low score of 34 set by Wisconsin-Milwaukee in 1985 and tied by Savannah State last season.
Illinois defeated Missouri Dec. 22 in the 27th annual Braggin' Rights game in St. Louis. It marked the Illini's eighth straight win in the series, tying the school record for consecutive Braggin' Rights wins. Illinois also won eight straight over Mizzou from 1983-90.
Pruitt was named Big Ten Co-Player of the Week on Dec. 24 after averaging 16.3 points and 10.3 rebounds over three games vs. Western Carolina, Miami (OH) and Missouri. He is the first Illini player to earn Player of the Week honors since James Augustine on Dec. 5, 2005.
Illinois played seven road/neutral games during non-conference play, tied for the second-highest total of road/neutral games among BCS schools.
Seven different players have been the Illini's leading scorer in a game.
Illinois has led during the second half in three of its five losses.
Shaun Pruitt has scored at least nine points in all but two games this season.
Pruitt scored in double figures for five consecutive games before the streak was snapped Sunday vs. Tennessee State when he finished with seven points. During the streak, Pruitt totaled 24 points vs. Arizona and Miami (OH), 16 vs. Loyola (MD), 14 vs. Missouri and 11 vs. Western Carolina. Over that five-game stretch, he averaged 17.8 points and 10.2 rebounds.
Brian Randle averaged 12.4 points over a five-game stretch prior to Sunday. He left the Tennessee State game late in the first half after suffering a mild concussion.
Pruitt and Randle combined for 38 points vs. Miami on Dec. 20, the duo's highest scoring total this season.
Chester Frazier is averaging 4.9 assists over the last eight games after averaging just 2.6 assists over the first five games. He tied his season high with six assists Sunday vs. Tennessee State.
Shaun Pruitt leads the Big Ten in offensive rebounds with an average of 3.8 per game (49 total off. reb.). He ranks third in the league in total rebounds (8.3 avg).
Pruitt has started every game over the past two-and-a-half seasons, entering the Ohio State game with an active streak of 81 consecutive starts.
There have been 51 consecutive sellout crowds at the Assembly Hall entering Thursday's game vs. Ohio State.
Last Time Out: Tennessee State
Trent Meacham led the Illini with 24 points on 6-of-12 shooting, including a season-high five 3-pointers. Meacham also set a career high with eight rebounds. Demetri McCamey scored nine off the bench and Shaun Pruitt added seven. Brian Randle had six points and six boards in just 14 minutes. He left the game just before halftime after suffering a mild concussion.
Lock Down "D"
Illinois' defense has been particularly strong over the last five games, holding opponents to 51.4 points on 33.6 percent shooting. Here is a look at the opposition's offensive totals over the last five games:
Opponent FG Pct. 3FG Pct. PTS W. Carolina 13-48 27.1 4-19 21.1 35 Miami 24-54 44.4 6-19 31.6 61 Missouri 20-58 34.5 6-19 31.6 58 Loyola 13-65 20.0 4-27 14.8 43 Tennessee St 22-49 44.9 8-19 42.1 60 Total 92-274 33.6 28-103 27.2 257 Avg. 18.4 fg/game 5.6 3fg/game 51.4 ppg
Pruitt Named Big Ten Co-Player of the Week Dec. 24
Pruitt averaged 16.3 points and 10.3 rebounds over three games to earn the accolade. He was the Illini's top scorer and rebounder in all three contests, recording 11 points and eight rebounds vs. Western Carolina, 24 points and 15 rebounds vs. Miami (OH), and 14 points and eight rebounds vs. Missouri. His 24 points against Miami tied his career high, first set Dec. 8 vs. Arizona. Pruitt's top moment of the week came against Missouri, when he scored the game-winning basket off an offensive rebound with 35 seconds left, capping off an undefeated career for the Illini senior in the Braggin' Rights game.
Illini Still Braggin'
With eight consecutive wins in the series, Illinois has tied its school record for consecutive Braggin' Rights wins. The Illini also won eight straight over Mizzou fro 1983-90.
Illinois' defense was stifling in the win, holding Missouri to a season-low 58 points, more than 26 points below its season average and marking the first time Mizzou has scored less than 72 points on the season. The Tigers also shot a season-low 34.5 percent (20-58), its first game this season shooting less than 41 percent.
Most Road/Neutral Games by BCS Schools (thru 12/31) 1. Washington State Pac-10 8 T2. Georgia Tech ACC 7 T2. North Carolina ACC 7 T2. South Florida Big East 7 T2. ILLINOIS Big Ten 7 T2. Colorado Big 12 7
Dominating the Glass
Pruitt a Force Inside
Pruitt made 10-of-11 from the field against Arizona on Dec. 8, which tied the sixth-best shooting performance in school history.
Pruitt scored in double figures for five consecutive games before the streak came to an end Sunday vs. Tennessee State (7 points). During that stretch, he had 24 points vs. Arizona, 11 vs. Western Carolina, 24 again vs. Miami, 14 vs. Missouri and 16 vs. Loyola. It marked the first time he reached double figures in five straight games since his streak of six straight games last season (1/20/07 through 2/7/07).
Over that five game-stretch, Pruitt averaged 17.8 points and 10.2 rebounds.
Pruitt has 12 career double-doubles including three this season: 12 pts-17 reb vs. Northeastern, 24 pts-15 reb vs. Miami and 16 pts-11 reb vs. Loyola. His career-high 17 rebounds vs. Northeastern marked the highest rebounding total by an Illini player in eight seasons, since Sergio McClain had 18 rebounds at Michigan on Jan. 16, 2000.
In addition to ranking third in the Big Ten in rebounding, Pruitt leads the league in offensive rebounds with an average of 3.8 per game (49 total).
One of the most Illini's most durable players in recent years, Pruitt has started every game over the last two-and-a-half seasons and enters the Ohio State game with an active streak of 81 consecutive starts.
*For complete set of Illinois men's basketball game notes, click on .pdf link at top of this page.