Deron Williams and the Illini face Purdue Saturday at the Assembly Hall.
Jan. 8, 2004
FIGHTING ILLINI BASKETBALL
Game #13: #19ap/20 Illinois (10-2, 1-0) vs. #24ap/25 Purdue (10-4, 0-1)
ESPN-Plus Regional Television
3:30 p.m. * Jan. 10, 2004 * Champaign, Ill. * Assembly Hall (16,500)
#19ap/20 ILLINOIS (10-2, 1-0)
F - 40 James Augustine (So., 6-10, 225, 11.5 ppg, 8.9 rpg)
F - 43 Roger Powell (Jr., 6-6, 220, 13.3 ppg, 5.3 rpg)
F - 42 Brian Randle (Fr., 6-8, 200, 5.6 ppg, 3.8 rpg)
G - 5 Deron Williams (So., 6-3, 210, 12.4 ppg, 3.7 rpg, 6.1 apg)
G - 11 Dee Brown (So., 6-0, 175, 12.4 ppg, 3.4 rpg, 5.3 apg)
Off The Bench ...
C - 1 Aaron Spears (Fr.-r, 6-9, 260, 2.3 ppg, 1.1 rpg)
G - 4 Luther Head (Jr., 6-3, 175, 10.0 ppg, 2.8 rpg)
G - 25 Jerrance Howard (Sr.-r, 6-1, 200, 1.3 ppg, 0.9 rpg)
G - 33 Rich McBride (Fr., 6-3, 210, 6.6 ppg, 1.6 rpg)
F - 34 Fred Nkemdi (Jr., 6-6, 220, 0.0 ppg, 1.0 rpg)
F - 41 Warren Carter (Fr., 6-9, 205, 2.7 ppg, 1.3 rpg)
C - 45 Nick Smith (Jr.-r, 7-2, 240, 8.5 ppg, 4.6 rpg)
C - 50 Jack Ingram (Jr.-r, 6-10, 240, 2.8 ppg, 2.9 rpg)
Illinois Head Coach Bruce Weber
Overall Record: 113-56/.669 (6th year)
Big Ten: 1-0/1.000
At Illinois: 10-2/.833 (1st year)
Vs. Purdue: first meeting
Assistant Coaches: Chris Lowery (1st year), Wayne McClain (3rd year), Jay Price (1st year)
Assistant to the head coach: Gary Nottingham (1st year)
Trainer: Al Martindale (21st year at Illinois)
Purdue Head Coach: Gene Keady
Overall Record: 536-258/.675 (26th year)
At Purdue: 498-239/.676 (24th year)
Vs. Illinois: 24-20
Assistant Coaches: Todd Foster, Cuonzo Martin, Tracy Webster
Series History: Purdue
Purdue leads the all-time series 84-77 over Illinois, but the Illini enjoy a 51-29 advantage in games played in Champaign. The teams split the season series last year, with the Illini winning 75-62 Jan. 22 at the Assembly Hall and Purdue winning 70-61 Feb. 15 at Mackey Arena.
Illinois is 45-1 (.978) at the Assembly Hall over the last three-and-a-half years, with the only loss coming to Michigan State in 2002 ... Since then, the Illini have won 23 straight at the Hall, a winning streak that ranks fourth nationally behind Pittsburgh (35), Duke (34) and Creighton (24) ... Illinois is 57-2 (.966) at the Assembly Hall over the past four-and-a-half seasons, the best home record in the nation over that period ...The Illini have also won 31 in a row at the Assembly Hall against non-conference opponents.
Reunion for Illini Coaches
There will be plenty of familiar faces on the Purdue bench for Illini head coach Bruce Weber and assistant coach Jay Price. Weber began his coaching career as an assistant at Western Kentucky under then-coach Gene Keady during the 1979-80 season. Weber then followed Keady to Purdue where he spent the next 18 years as an assistant coach in West Lafayette before taking the head job at Southern Illinois in 1998.
Prior to joining the Illinois staff as an assistant this season, Price worked 10 years (1994-2003) as an assistant coach at Purdue under Keady. Price served as the recruiting coordinator for the majority of Purdue's current roster.
Top 25 Streak Continues
Illinois is ranked 20th in the current (Jan. 5) ESPN/USA Today Coaches' Poll, extending its streak to 67 consecutive polls in which the Illini have been ranked. Illinois is ranked No. 19 in this week's AP Top 25 poll.
Illinois had a school record-streak of 30 straight polls in the Coaches' Top 10 snapped in January, 2002, but has never dropped out of the Coaches' Top 25 the last three-plus seasons.
Last Time Out
Illinois extended its winning streak to six games and won its fifth straight Big Ten opener with an 85-63 victory over Ohio State Wednesday at the Assembly Hall. Nick Smith had a perfect night from the field, scoring a career-high 22 points on 6-for-6 shooting--which included a 3-pointer--and 9-for-9 accuracy from the free throw line. Smith also tied his career best in rebounding with nine boards.
The Illini broke the game open with a 23-4 run midway through the first half to take a 33-11 lead. Illinois held a double-digit lead the rest of the way in winning its 23rd straight game at the Assembly Hall. Six UI players finished in double figures led by Smith's 22 points.
Williams Excels in Return to Action
Deron Williams missed three games (Memphis, Missouri and Illinois-Chicago) due to a fractured jaw that occurred Dec. 11 against Maryland-Eastern Shore after running into a screen early in the second half. Williams had surgery on Dec. 12 to repair the fracture and made a successful return to the court Jan. 3 vs. Illinois State. With his jaw still wired shut and making it difficult to breath, Illinois coaches hoped to get Williams a maximum of 18-20 minutes of playing time. But he defied those odds, coming off the bench to play 34 minutes. Williams fueled the Illini comeback against ISU, leading the team with 20 points, including four 3-pointers. He also had four rebounds and three assists in his first game-action in nearly one month.
Williams returned to the starting lineup Wednesday vs. Ohio State, dishing out six assists and grabbing six rebounds in 32 minutes of play.
Williams has been turning heads with his sensational play to start his sophomore season. He ranks second on the team in scoring (12.4 ppg) and has scored in double figures in six of nine games, setting a career-high in points in three-consecutive games up to the Arkansas game (Dec. 6), but setting a career-high with 10 assists against the Razorbacks. His scoring average so far is nearly double his freshman average of 6.3 points. He scored a career-high 22 points vs. North Carolina (Dec. 2) and is shooting over 42 percent from the field (41-97). While his scoring has improved dramatically, Williams remains an unselfish player with the ball in his hands, leading the Big Ten with 6.1 assists per game. He handed out eight assists in the season opener vs. Western Illinois and again against North Carolina before dropping 10 dimes against Arkansas.
Brown Named Big Ten Preseason Player of the Year
Sophomore guard Dee Brown, nicknamed the "One-Man Fast Break," was named the Big Ten's Preseason Player of the Year by the media and to the preseason All-Big Ten squad by both the media and coaches. Wisconsin's Devin Harris was the preseason player of the year as voted by the coaches. Brown was also named to the 12-man Playboy Magazine All-America squad and is one of 50 players on the Wooden Award All-America preseason watch list. Brown is the fourth-consecutive Illini to earn league preseason player of the year honors following Cory Bradford in 2001, Frank Williams in 2002 and Brian Cook in 2003.
Brown is currently third on the Illini in scoring at 12.4 points per game with a season-high 23 points coming in the season opener vs. Western Illinois Nov. 22. He ranks among the Big Ten's Top 10 players in four categories, ranking third with 5.3 assists per game, fifth with an assist/turnover ratio of 2.06, sixth with 2.0 three-pointers per game and ninth with 1.6 steals per game. He dished out a season-high nine assists vs. UIC (Dec. 30) and had season highs of four steals vs. both UIC and Ohio State (Jan. 7). Brown has made four treys in three games this year, most recently at Temple (Nov. 29).
Last year, he earned second-team All-Big Ten honors from the media and third-team honors from the coaches, and earned a spot on the first-ever Big Ten All-Freshman steam. Brown was second on the team in scoring, averaging 12.0 points. He led the Big Ten in assists with 4.97 per game and also led the league with an assist/turnover ratio of 2.56. One of the quickest guards in America, Brown's 1.78 steals per game led the team and ranked third in the Big Ten.
In Big Ten Conference games only, Brown totaled 76 assists with only 25 turnovers, leading the conference with an assist/turnover ratio of 3.04 in league play.
Air Rog Takes Off
Junior Roger Powell leads the team in scoring and ranks second in rebounding, averaging 13.3 points and 5.3 rebounds. He ranks second in the Big Ten in field goal percentage, shooting 64.4 percent from the field (67-104), and is second on the team with 32 offensive rebounds.
Powell recorded the first double-double of his Illinois career against Mercer on Nov. 26, scoring 16 points and grabbing a career-high 10 rebounds. He followed up that performance than with another double-double in his next outing vs. Temple. Powell scored 19 points and matched his career high with 10 boards. He then scored a season-high 20 points against North Carolina Dec. 2. He has scored in double figures eight times this season.
Last year in Big Ten play, Powell led the league in field-goal shooting at 64.1 percent and was named to the Big Ten All-Tournament Team after helping the Illini to the title.
Augustine Nearly a Double-Double Man
Another member of the heralded Illini sophomore class is James Augustine. Augustine, named to the first-ever Big Ten All-Freshman Team last season, is nearly averaging a double-double with 11.5 points and team-leading 8.9 rebounds per game. His rebounding average ranks second in the Big Ten, and he is third in the Big Ten in both field-goal shooting at 64.2 percent (52-81) and offensive rebounds with 3.1 per game. Augustine has scored at least nine points in 10of 12 games, highlighted by a career-high 21 points vs. Memphis Dec. 13. He has had at least nine boards in seven games, with a career-high 13 against Western Illinois in the season opener, and has led the team in rebounding seven times. Augustine has recorded four double-doubles on the season, most recently vs. Missouri on Dec. 23 (14 pts-10 reb).
Last year as a freshman, Augustine averaged 7.0 points while shooting 58 percent from the field. He was second on the team behind Brian Cook and 13th in the Big Ten in rebounding, averaging 5.8 boards. He was also 13th in the league in blocked shots. In Big Ten play only, Augustine ranked third in field-goal shooting at 58.6 percent.
"Chainsaw" Strengthens UI Frontcourt
Nick Smith, a 7-foot-2-inch junior, has started four games this season and is averaging 8.5 points. He is also third on the team with 4.6 rebounds per game. He has scored in double figures in five games, with a career-high 22 points in in the win over Ohio State Wednesday. Smith had a perfect shooting day, hitting all six of his field goal attempts, including a 3-pointer, and 9-of-9 shooting from the free throw line. Smith also had a career high in rebounds against the Buckeyes with nine boards.
Smith scored 14 points to help lead the Illini to a come-from-behind win over Illinois State on Jan 3. Smith was huge in the clutch, scoring 12 of his 14 points in the final eight minutes of the game and overtime. He shot a perfect 8-of-8 from the line, which included a pair of free throws with :19 left to send the game into overtime.
Smith also came up big and the end of Illinois' win over Missouri Dec. 23. He recorded an assist on James Augustine's layup that gave the Illini a 69-67 lead with under one minute to play and then came up with a steal on Missouri's next possession. Smith finished the game with six points, four rebounds, three assists and two steals.
Last year, he put up some impressive numbers off the bench in Big Ten play. In 16 conference games, Smith shot 67.3 percent (33-49) from the field, made 4-of-6 treys, and shot 90.5 percent (19-21) from the free-throw line. Smith averaged 5.9 points and 2.9 rebounds in the league while averaging 18.8 minutes per game. He led the Illini and ranked seventh in the Big Ten with 38 blocked shots. Smith was Illinois' top free throw shooter, making 38-of-44 from the line for 86.4 percent on the season.
Nick Smith earned a bachelor's degree in finance this past December, graduating from Illinois' College of Business in three-and-a-half years. Smith is in the process of deciding upon a graduate program and will begin work on his master's degree when classes begin Jan. 20.
Head Heating Up
Junior Luther Head has been a consistent scorer this season, ranking fifth on the team with 10.0 points per game. He has scored at least nine points in seven of nine games, with four games in double figures. Head started the past five games prior to the Ohio State game, where he averaged 11.8 points as a starter. He scored a season-high 16 points in his first start of the year vs. Maryland-Eastern Shore, had 13 points on 5-of-7 shooting vs. UIC, and most recently scored 15 points against Illinois State.
Freshman sharp-shooter Rich McBride emerged onto the scene Dec. 13 vs. Memphis and has kept up his hot shooting hand. Over the past five games, he has averaged 10.2 points on over 48 percent shooting from three-point range (15-31). A three-time All-Stater during his high school career in Illinois, McBride sat out the first four games of the season for violating team rules, but has since worked his way into the playing rotation.
He exploded for a career-high 22 points in 29 minutes of play vs. Memphis. McBride nailed 6-of-10 from 3-point range, tying the most 3s by a Big Ten player this season. He also had career highs of five assists and five rebounds vs. Memphis. He has tallied three treys in three of the past four games (Missouri, UIC and Ohio State) .
In eight games on the season, McBride is averaging 6.6 points and is shooting over 40 percent from 3-point land (15-37).
Randle an Early Contributor
Freshman Brian Randle was in the starting lineup in his first two games and has also started the last five. He is averaging 19.1 minutes per game on the season. In his first game, he responded with eight points and a team-high three steals and had six points and five boards in the second. Against North Carolina, Randle had seven points and five rebounds, and he scored five points with six rebounds vs. Memphis. Against UIC, Randle just missed a double-double with nine points and a career-high 11 rebounds. In Wednesday's game vs. Ohio State, Randle reached double figures for the first time with a career-high 10 points. On the season, he is averaging 5.6 points and 3.8 rebounds, while shooting over 57 percent from the field. Randle is also fourth on the team with 11 steals.
Ingram a Post Presence
Junior transfer Jack Ingram, who sat out last season after transferring from Tulsa, is averaging 2.8 points and 2.9 rebounds for the Illini this season. He's fourth on the team with 17 offensive rebounds, just one less than his total of defensive boards. He led the Illini with eight rebounds in Illinois' win over Maryland-Eastern Shore. Ingram scored four points and grabbed five rebounds in his first action as an Illini against Western Illinois and had eight points and eight boards vs. Mercer.
* Complete Illinois Men's Basketball Game Notes available by clicking on .pdf link at the top of this page.