Chester Frazier and the Illini open Big Ten play Thursday, hosting Ohio State.
Jan. 1, 2008
Champaign, Ill. -
FIGHTING ILLINI BASKETBALL
Game #14: Illinois (8-5) vs. Ohio State (9-3)
Jan. 3, 2008 7 p.m. CT ESPN
Champaign, Ill. Assembly Hall (16,618)
On the Air
ESPN: Brent Musburger, play-by-play; Steve Lavin, expert analyst; Erin Andrews, sideline reporter.
Illini Sports Network - 45 stations: Brian Barnhart, play-by-play; Jerry Hester, expert analyst; Loren Tate, pregame/halftime/postgame interviews.
Illini Probable Starters
F - 23 Rodney Alexander (Jr., 6-7, 225, 5.9 ppg, 3.7 rpg) -OR-
F - 42 Brian Randle (r-Sr, 6-8, 220, 10.5 ppg, 5.2 rpg, 1.1 apg)
C - 55 Shaun Pruitt (Sr., 6-10, 245, 12.9 ppg, 8.3 rpg, 1.1 apg)
G - 25 Calvin Brock (r-Jr., 6-5, 195, 7.4 ppg, 4.1 rpg, 1.5 apg, 1.3 spg)
G - 1 Trent Meacham (r-Jr., 6-2, 195, 11.3 ppg, 2.8 rpg, 2.9 apg)
G - 3 Chester Frazier (Jr., 6-2, 190, 4.9 ppg, 5.4 rpg, 4.0 apg)
Off the Bench
G - 2 Chris Hicks (Sr., 6-2, 190, 0.0 ppg, 0.0 rpg)
G - 13 Jeff Jordan (Fr., 6-1, 185, 0.7 ppg, 0.4 rpg)
G - 22 Steve Holdren (r-Jr., 6-5, 200, 1.3 ppg, 1.1 rpg)
F - 24 Mike Davis (Fr., 6-9, 195, 2.9 ppg, 1.8 rpg)
F - 30 Bill Cole (Fr., 6-9, 210, 2.9 ppg, 2.0 rpg)
F - 32 Demetri McCamey (Fr., 6-3, 205, 5.0 ppg, 1.5 rpg, 2.2 apg)
C - 33 Brian Carlwell (So., 6-11, 265, 0.0 ppg, 0.0 rpg)
F - 50 Richard Semrau (r-Fr., 6-9, 235, 0.0 ppg, 0.6 rpg)
C - 54 Mike Tisdale (Fr., 7-1, 215, 4.2 ppg, 1.8 rpg)
Illinois Head Coach Bruce Weber
Overall Record: 223-87/.719 (10th year)
At Illinois: 120-33/.784 (5th year)
Big Ten: 48-16/.750
Vs. Ohio State: 3-3
Assistant Coaches: Wayne McClain (7th year), Jay Price (5th year), Jerrance Howard (1st year)
Assistant to the Head Coach: Gary Nottingham (5th year)
Trainer: Al Martindale (25th year at Illinois)
Ohio State Head Coach: Thad Matta
Overall Record: 192-56/.774 (8th year)
At Ohio State: 90-25/.783 (4th year)
Vs. Illinois: 3-1
Series Notes: Ohio State
Illinois leads the all-time series 100-62 over Ohio State, including a 59-22 advantage in games played at Champaign. Following five straight Illini wins in the series, Ohio State has won the last three match-ups. Illinois' last win over the Buckeyes came in the 2005 Big Ten opener, when the top-ranked Illini defeated OSU 84-65 at the Assembly Hall.
The teams will meet again this month as Illinois plays at Ohio State on Jan. 22.
Illini in Big Ten Openers
Illinois is 62-40 all-time in Big Ten opening games ... The Illini are 41-16 when opening the Big Ten season at home and 20-4 at the Assembly Hall in Big Ten openers ... This is the seventh time in nine years that Illinois begins Big Ten play at home ... Illinois had its winning streak of seven consecutive conference openers snapped last season with a 71-61 loss at Michigan ... This is the 14th time overall that Illinois and Ohio State open the Big Ten season against each other, with the Illini owning a 9-4 edge over the Buckeyes in conference openers ... The last time Illinois and Ohio State tipped off Big Ten play against each other was three years ago, when the top-ranked Illini defeated the Buckeyes 84-65 at the Assembly Hall (Jan. 5, 2005).
Illini Notes ...
Illinois plays the third of four straight home games Thursday.
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
Illinois struggled against Tennessee State's zone defense, falling to the Tigers 60-58 Sunday afternoon at the Assembly Hall. The Illini were down by as many as 14 points in the second half before mounting a comeback. Trailing 59-53 with 1:31 left, Illinois ran off five straight points on a basket by Demetri McCamey and a 3-pointer by Trent Meacham to make it a one-point game. After a stop, Illinois had the ball and worked it inside to Shaun Pruitt, who was fouled with nine seconds left. After missing both, Illinois fouled and Tennessee State made one of two. The Illini had one last chance, but Mike Tisdale's open look at the buzzer rimmed out.
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 has been one of the nation's top defensive teams each year under Bruce Weber. This year's squad looks to continue that style of aggressive man-to-man defensive pressure throughout each game. Illinois ranks fourth in the Big Ten in scoring defense with opponents averaging 59.9 points per game on the season The Illini are third in the league in field goal percentage defense (.381) and second in 3-pt field goal percentage defense (.299).
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
Shaun Pruitt was named Big Ten Co-Player of the Week on Dec. 24, earning his first career weekly honor.
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'
Illinois brought home the Braggin' Rights trophy for the eighth straight year, defeating Missouri 59-58 on Dec. 22 in St. Louis. Shaun Pruitt made a game-winning basket off an offensive rebound with 35 seconds left to give Illinois the victory. Pruitt led the Illini with 14 points and eight rebounds while Trent Meacham had 13 points, five rebounds and five assists and Brian Randle added 11 points and eight boards.
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.
Illinois played a challenging schedule prior to Big Ten play in a number of locations. Seven of Illinois' non-conference games came on the road (Hawaii, Maryland) or at neutral sites (Arizona State, Duke and Oklahoma State in Maui, Arizona in Chicago and Missouri in St. Louis). Illinois is tied for second among schools from BCS conferences that have played the highest number of road and neutral games:
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
Illinois has outrebounded 10 of 13 opponents this year and owns a rebounding margin of +6.8 on the season. Illinois ranks fourth in the Big Ten in rebounding margin and is fifth in the conference in total rebounds, averaging 39.9 rpg.
Pruitt a Force Inside
Illinois has one of the top post players in the Big Ten in senior and three-year starting center Shaun Pruitt. A preseason All-Big Ten selection, Pruitt leads the Illini in scoring and rebounding, averaging 12.9 points (17th in Big Ten) and 8.3 rebounds (3rd in Big Ten). He has scored at least nine points in all but two games this season, with a career-high 24 points vs. both Arizona and Miami (OH), 16 vs. Loyola (MD), 15 at Hawaii, 14 vs. Missouri, 12 vs. Northeastern, 11 vs. both Duke and Western Carolina, 10 at Maryland, and nine each vs. Arizona State and Oklahoma State.
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.