Men's Basketball
Big Ten Opener Game Notes: #14/11 Illinois at Purdue

Brandon Paul has done it all for the Illini this season.
Brandon Paul has done it all for the Illini this season.

Jan. 1, 2013

 Game 15: #11/14 Illinois (13-1, 0-0) at Purdue (6-6, 0-0)
 When Wednesday, Jan. 2, 2013 | 7:30 p.m. CT
 Location West Lafayette, Ind. | Mackey Arena (14,846)
 Tickets Buy Online or call 1-800-49-SPORT
 Television BTN |
    Announcers: Eric Collins (Play-By-Play), Shon Morris (Analyst)
 Radio Illini Sports Network | Listen | Sirius 91 / XM 91
 Live Coverage GameTracker
 Printable Game Notes Illinois | Purdue | Big Ten
 Season Stats Illinois | Purdue | Big Ten
 Social Media @IlliniHoops   |  #Illini   | Facebook | YouTube

Probable Starters (from the previous game)

Pos.	No.	Name    	Ht.	Wt.	Yr.	PPG	RPG	APG	Other
G	13 	Tracy Abrams 	6-1	185	So.	12.1	3.8	3.2	1.6 spg
G	1	D.J. Richardson	6-3	195	Sr.	10.9	4.4	2.0	2.3  3FG/G
G	3	Brandon Paul	6-4	200	Sr.	18.7	5.1	3.6	6.8 FTA/G
F	42	Tyler Griffey	6-9	220	Sr.	9.2	3.4	0.9	44% 3FG
F/C	32	Nnanna Egwu	6-11	235	So.	6.2	4.1	0.6	1.1 bpg

Off the Bench

Pos.	No.	Name    	Ht. 	Wt.	Yr.	PPG	RPG	APG	Other
F	0	Sam McLaurin 	6-8	220	Gr.	4.3	3.9	0.5	35 off. reb.
G	2	Joseph Bertrand	6-6	195	r-Jr.	8.8	4.3	0.6	60% FG
G	10	Mike LaTulip	6-0	165	Fr.	2.1	0.3	0.0	3-6  3FG
F	15	Mike Shaw	6-8	215	So.	0.9	0.5	0.1	2-3 FG
G/F	20	Myke Henry	6-6	230	So.	3.9	2.4	0.1	34.6% 3FG
G/F	21	Devin Langford	6-7	200	r-Fr.	0.8	1.1	0.2	4-8 FG
F/C	23	Ibby Djimde	6-8	245	So.	0.0	0.1	0.0	10 minutes
G	24	Rayvonte Rice %	6-4	240	Jr.
G	31	Kevin Berardini	6-0	165	r-Jr. 	1.0	0.0	0.4	5-6 FT
		% Rice is sitting out this season per NCAA transfer rules

Coaching Staff
Head Coach: John Groce
Career Record: 98-57/.632 (5th year)
At Illinois: 13-1/.929 (1st year)
Assistant Coaches: Dustin Ford (1st year), Paris Parham (1st year), Jamall Walker (1st year)
Special Assistant to the Head Coach: Brandon Miller (1st year)
Director of Basketball Operations:  Mark Morris (1st year)
Video Coordinator: Andy Etheridge (1st year)

Series Notes vs. Purdue
Series Record: Purdue leads 95-84
Series Streak: Purdue W-7
Record at West Lafayette: Purdue leads 59-28
Series Streak at West Lafayette: Purdue W-3
Last Year's Meetings: 
Purdue 75, Illinois 60 (Dec. 31, 2011 at West Lafayette)
Purdue 67, Illinois 62 (Feb. 15, 2012 at Champaign)
Groce vs. Purdue: First Meeting

Illini Ticket/Mini-Pack Ticket Info
Illini fans have a terrific opportunity to see the excitement that is building in Champaign for coach John Groce's program by purchasing a Big Ten mini-pack. This special offer includes a ticket to three home conference match-ups - Jan. 9 vs. No. 9 Minnesota, Jan. 17 vs. Northwestern and Feb. 3 vs. Wisconsin - all for a price of just $49. That is a savings of more than 50 percent off the single-game ticket price. Mini-pack tickets can be purchased online.

The Big Ten mini-pack originally included the Michigan game on Jan. 27, but with that game sold out, the Wisconsin game on Feb. 3 now rounds out the 3-pack offer.

So far, the Ohio State (Jan. 5) and Michigan (Jan. 27) games have been announced as sellouts, but all tickets are still available for all other home games online or by calling 1-866-ILLINI-1.

Illini in Big Ten Openers
A charter member of the conference, Illinois opens its 108th season of Big Ten basketball on Wednesday night ... Illinois is 66-41 all-time in Big Ten openers ... Illinois has won 11 of its last 13 league openers, including each of the last four ... The Illini are 23-24 when beginning conference play on the road ... This is just the sixth time in the last 17 seasons that Illinois opens Big Ten play on the road ... This is the 17th time that Illinois and Purdue open the Big Ten season against each other and first since Dec. 30, 2008, when the Illini defeated the ninth-ranked Boilermakers, 71-67, in overtime in West Lafayette ... John Groce will try to become the third-straight rookie Illini coach - and 10th overall - to record a win in his first Big Ten game.

Abrams Big Ten Player of the Week
Tracy Abrams earned Big Ten Player of the Week accolades on Monday. He received the honor for the first time in his career after leading the Illini to victory over Auburn at the United Center. Abrams poured in a career-high 27 points and pulled down a career-best eight rebounds. He hit 6-of-11 field goals and 13-of-15 free throws - career highs for both makes and attempts - while also adding game highs of four steals and five assists with only one turnover in 35 minutes playing the point.

Illini on Winning Track Entering Big Ten Play
Illinois heads into the rugged Big Ten race on the heels of a successful non-conference campaign that resulted in a 13-1 record. It is the most wins and best winning percentage by the Illini prior to Big Ten play since the 2005-06 season when the UI went 14-0. It is the first time that the Illini lost just one game in the non-conference, meanwhile, since the 2008-09 season when the Illini went 12-1.

Bakers Dozen
Illinois' 13 wins are tied for the most in NCAA Div. I (through Dec. 31). The Illini are one of seven teams with 13 victories, joined by Cincinnati, Gonzaga, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota and New Mexico.

Illini Trends
Brandon Paul has scored in double figures in all 14 games this season. It is the second-longest streak of his career, behind a stretch of 15 straight in double figures last season (Dec. 19-Feb. 15).
• Paul is averaging 7.2 points from the free throw line over the last five games (36).
Tracy Abrams had a game-high 22 points against Auburn, marking the first time in the last nine games and only the third time this season that Paul was not the Illini's leading scorer.
• Abrams has scored in double figures in four of the last six games.
• Abrams had an assist-to-turnover ratio of 5:1 against Auburn, his second-best mark of the season (3:0 vs. Western Carolina).
D.J. Richardson has made a 3-pointer in all 14 games this season, and carries an active career-long streak of 20 straight games with at least one trey.
Tyler Griffey has made 4-of-8 from 3-point range the last two games after making just 1-of-12 from behind the arc the previous four games.
• Illinois has scored more than 70 points in 11 of 14 games after doing so just 10 times in 32 games last year.
• Illinois has outscored its opponent in points off turnovers in 12 of 14 games and owns a margin of +8.3 points per game in that category on the season.
• Illinois is ranked in the Top 25 for the sixth consecutive week, checking in at No. 11 in the current AP poll. That is one spot away from Illinois' highhest ranking of the season -º 10th in the Dec. 10 and Dec. 17 polls.

The Last Meeting
February 15, 2012
Assembly Hall
Illinois Falls to Purdue, 67-62
Robbie Hummel scored 19 points and three other Boilermakers scored in double figures Wednesday night, helping Purdue hold off struggling Illinois 67-62.

Illini Look to End Boilermakers' Streak
Illinois enters Wednesday night's contest trying to end a seven-game skid against Purdue. That is Illinois' longest losing streak against a conference opponent since dropping nine straight to Purdue from Feb. 20, 1996-Jan. 12, 2000. The Boilers are the only Big Ten team the current Illini senior class has not beaten.

• Illinois is trying to win at Purdue for the first time since Dec. 30, 2008, when the Illini defeated the ninth-ranked Boilermakers 71-67 in overtime. The Illini have dropped three straight at West Lafayette.
• The Illini also are trying to snap a seven-game Big Ten road losing streak. The UI's last conference road win was at Northwestern on Jan. 4, 2012.
• Illinois is ranked in the Top 25 heading into Mackey Arena for the first time since Jan. 8, 2005, when the top-ranked Illini defeated the Boilermakers 68-59.

Current Illini vs. Purdue
Brandon Paul (6 G): 14.5 ppg (87), 2.3 rpg (14)
Highlights: Has scored in double figures in each of the last five games against the Boilermakers ... 19 points last season at Champaign ... Game-high 17 points and career-high five steals last season at West Lafayette ... 10 points in 2011 at West Lafayette ... Game-high 23 points in 2011 at Champaign ... 13 points in 2010 at West Lafayette.
Tracy Abrams (2 G): 12.0 ppg (24), 2.5 rpg (5)
Highlight: Season-high 22 points last season at Champaign.
Joseph Bertrand (2 G): 10.0 ppg (20), 1.0 rpg (2)
Highlights: 12 points and career-high five assists last season at Champaign ... 8 points in first career start last season at West Lafayette.
D.J. Richardson (6 G): 9.2 ppg (55), 2.8 rpg (17)
Highlights: 15 points and game-high six rebounds last season at West Lafayette ... 13 points in 2011 at Champaign ... 10 points in 2010 at West Lafayette ... 12 points in 2010 at Champaign.
Myke Henry (2 G): 7 pts, 3 reb
Highlight: 7 points and 3 rebounds last season at West Lafayette.
Tyler Griffey (4 G): 7 pts, 3 reb
Mike Shaw (1 G): 1 pts, 2 reb
Nnanna Egwu (2 G): 0 pts, 2 reb
Ibby Djimde (1 G): 0 pts, 1 reb
Kevin Berardini (1 G): 0 pts, 0 reb

Last Time Out: Illini Defeat Auburn at the UC - Dec. 29 | Recap
Illinois snapped a three-game losing streak at the United Center, defeating Auburn by the score of 81-79 on Saturday to conclude non-conference play with a record of 13-1.

Illinois entered the game averaging an NCAA-best 9.8 three-pointers per game, but made a season-low four treys against the Tigers. That came on a season-low 15 three-point attempts. Instead, the Illini were aggressive driving to the basket and drawing fouls. That resulted in 27 points at the foul line on 40 attempts, the most free throw attempts by the UI in the last five seasons.

Illinois also forced 20 Auburn turnovers and turned that into a 19-6 advantage in points-off-turnovers. That helped the Illini overcome a 39-31 rebounding deficit and 24-7 deficit in second chance points.

Tracy Abrams led the way with career highs of 27 points and eight rebounds, to go along with game highs of five assists and four steals. Brandon Paul also scored in double figures with 13 points.

3-Point Barrage
Illinois currently ranks third in the NCAA in 3-point field goals per game (9.4). The Illini made at least 10 three-pointers in each of its first six games of the season, becoming the first UI team ever to make double-digit three-point field goals in six consecutive games. Illinois has now made 10 or more threes in eight games on the year.

Illinois has made 36 more 3-point baskets than its opposition so far this season (132-to-96), a total of 108 more points and meaning the Illini are outscoring the competition by a margin of 7.7 points per game from the land of three.

While it's still early, the Illini look to be well on their way to challenging the school record for 3-point field goals per game, which is currently held by the 2004-05 Illini (8.8 per game).

Do It All Paul
Brandon Paul has been one of the most complete players in college basketball so far this season, affecting the game in all areas. In fact, he currently leads the Illini in points, rebounds and assists. Paul also led the team in steals prior to the Auburn game and is now two off the lead. Additionally, he is just one blocked shot away from taking the team lead in that category as well.

Paul was just one of three players in the nation to lead his team in points, rebounds, assists and steals entering last weekend's games, joined by San Diego State's Jamaal Franklin and Rice's Tamir Jackson.

Five on the Starting Five

Brandon Paul
1. Leads the Illini in points, rebounds and assists - on pace to become the first Illini player ever to lead the team in all three categories (by average) in a single season.
2. Big Ten's No. 2 leading scorer with an average of 18.7 points.
3. Has scored in double figures in all 14 games, with six 20-plus point performances.
4. Second among Big Ten players in free throw makes (69) and attempts (95), behind Indiana's Cody Zeller.
5. Third among Big Ten players in 3-point field goals with 35 on the season.

Tracy Abrams
1. Second on the team in scoring with an average of 12.1 points.
2. Has increased his scoring average by 7.4 points (4.7 last year).
3. Scored in double figures in four of the last six games, led by career-high 27 points Saturday vs. Auburn.
4. Leads the team in steals (1.6 spg) and ranks second on the team in assists (3.2 apg).
5. Has exceeded his point total from all of last season, scoring 33 more points this year in 284 less minutes.

D.J. Richardson
1. Third Illini scoring in double figures with an average of 10.9 points.
2. Second on the team in rebounding (4.4 rpg) and steals (1.5 spg).
3. Carries an active streak of 20 straight games making at least one 3-pointer.
4. Ranks fifth in school history in career 3-point field goals with 227.
5. Has started 110 career games, tied for 10th on the UI's all-time starts list.

Tyler Griffey
1. Fourth on the team in scoring, averaging a career-best 9.2 points.
2. Shooting 44 percent from 3-point range, which ranks fifth in the Big Ten.
3. 17 points away from matching his scoring total from all of last season.
4. Has made 22 threes in 14 games after making a total of 16 treys in 32 games last season.
5. More than half of his field goal attempts have been from 3-point range (50 of 97).

Nnanna Egwu
1. Started all 14 games and is averaging 23.9 minutes after averaging 9.8 minutes last season.
2. Averaging 6.2 points and 4.1 rebounds, nearly tripling his averages from last season (1.9 ppg, 1.5 rpg).
3. Leads Illini in blocked shots with 16 (1.1 bpg).
4. Posted career highs vs. Missouri on Dec. 22 with 12 points and nine rebounds.
5. Averaging 7.8 points over the last four games (31).

Complete Illinois-Purdue Game Notes (PDF)