Illinois Game Notes vs. Penn State
Jan. 5, 2008
Champaign, Ill. -
FIGHTING ILLINI BASKETBALL
On the Air
Illini Probable Starters
Off the Bench
Illinois Head Coach Bruce Weber
Penn State Head Coach: Ed DeChellis
Series Notes: Penn State
The teams will meet again at State College, Pa. on Feb. 16.
Illini Honor 1998 Big Ten Champs
Illini Notes ...
Illinois enters Sunday's game having lost its last two games. Losing streaks have been extremely rare during Weber's five-year tenure. Under Weber, the Illini have lost consecutive games just four times, and have only lost three straight once, last season vs. Xavier (Dec. 29) at Michigan (Jan. 3) and vs. Ohio State (Jan. 6).
Ohio State on Thursday became the first team in six games and just the fourth opponent this season to reach the 70-point marker against the Illini.
Illinois has not allowed an opponent to score 80 or more points in 40 consecutive games. The last team to do so was Arizona on Dec. 2, 2006 (84 points).
Illinois has only had one opponent this season shoot better than 46 percent from the field (Duke on Nov. 20).
Illinois has outrebounded its opponent in 11 of 14 games and ranks fourth in the Big Ten in rebound margin at +6.6 rpg.
Illinois held Loyola (MD) to 20 percent shooting (13-65) on Dec. 28, 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.
Shaun 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 this season. However, either Shaun Pruitt or Brian Randle has been the Illini's leading scorer in four of the last five games, as well as five of the last seven games.
Illinois has led during the second half in four of its six 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 vs. Tennessee State (Dec. 30) 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. Pruitt returned to double figures Thursday vs. Ohio State, finishing with 12 points.
Brian Randle averaged 12.4 points over a five-game stretch prior to Dec. 30. He left the Tennessee State game late in the first half after suffering a mild concussion. Randle returned to action Thursday vs. Ohio State and scored a team-high 14 points in a career-high 37 minutes.
Pruitt and Randle combined for 38 points vs. Miami on Dec. 20, the duo's highest scoring total this season.
Chester Frazier is averaging 4.8 assists over the last nine games (43) after averaging just 2.6 assists over the first five games (13). He tied his season high with six assists vs. Tennessee State on Dec. 30.
Shaun Pruitt leads the Big Ten in offensive rebounds with an average of 3.8 per game (53 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 Penn State game with an active streak of 82 consecutive starts.
There have been 52 consecutive sellout crowds at the Assembly Hall entering Sunday's game vs. Penn State. The streak began on Dec. 6, 2004.
Last Time Out: Ohio State
Brian Randle, who was considered doubtful after suffering a mild concussion in the previous game vs. Tennessee State, led the Illini with 14 points on 6-11 shooting in a career-high 37 minutes. Shaun Pruitt also reached double figures with 12 and led Illinois with eight rebounds.
Lock Down "D"
No team has reached 80 points on the Illini this season, with just four opponents topping the 70-point marker. Illinois's defense has also allowed only one team (Duke) to shoot over 46 percent from the field.
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 and is the top percentage by a Big Ten player this season.
Pruitt scored in double figures for five consecutive games before the streak came to an end vs. Tennessee State last Sunday (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 returned to double figures vs. Ohio State on Thursday with 12 points.
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 (53 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 Penn State game with an active streak of 82 consecutive starts.
Randle More Aggressive on Offense
Randle returned to double figures for the first time in four games vs. Arizona, scoring 11 points. He also had a season-high five assists vs. the Wildcats. He just missed double figures vs. Western Carolina, finishing with nine points.
Randle scored 14 points vs. Miami (OH) on 6-10 shooting. He had 11 points in the win over Missouri and then tied his career high with 17 points against Loyola (MD), hitting 7-of-10 shots.
He was off to another strong start vs. Tennessee State last Sunday, with six points and six boards before suffering a mild concussion just before halftime.
Considered doubtful for Thursday's game vs. Ohio State, Randle returned to the lineup and led the Illini in scoring with 14 points while playing a career-high 37 minutes.
Randle ranks second on the team in field goal percentage on the season, shooting 50.8 percent from the field. He also is the team's third-leading rebounder with an average of 5.1 rebounds on the season.
Meacham Settles in at Shooting Guard
Meacham is third on the Illini in scoring with an average of 10.6 points. He is shooting over 37 percent from 3-point range on the season and is ninth in the Big Ten with an average of 2.2 treys per game (28 total).
He has had some big games, topping 20 points twice and reaching double figures five times on the year. Meacham scored a career-high 26 points vs. Weber State on Dec. 1 and had 24 vs. Tennessee State last Sunday. He also scored 17 vs. Oklahoma State (Nov. 21), 16 vs. Arizona (Dec. 8) and 13 vs. Missouri (Dec. 22).
Frazier Does It All
Despite standing 6-2, Frazier also is second on the team in rebounding behind Pruitt with an average of 5.3 rpg. He currently ranks 15th in the Big Ten in rebounding and is the only point guard listed among the league's top 20 rebounders.
Frazier has twice grabbed a season-high nine rebounds, at Hawaii and vs. Duke, He also tallied eight boards vs. Oklahoma State, and seven at Maryland. He has been the UI's leading rebounder in four games this season.
*For complete set of Illinois men's basketball game notes, click on .pdf link at top of this page.