Men's Basketball
Game 17 Notes: #12/13 Illinois vs. #8/10 Minnesota

Joesph Bertrand had 13 points in last year's double-OT win over Minnesota at Assembly Hall.
Joesph Bertrand had 13 points in last year's double-OT win over Minnesota at Assembly Hall.

Jan. 8, 2013

 Game 17: #12/13 Illinois (14-2) vs. #8/10 Minnesota (14-1)
 When Wednesday, Jan. 9, 2013 | 8 p.m. CT
 Location Champaign, Ill. | Assembly Hall (16,618) | Fan Guide | Parking Map
 Tickets MINN Game $16 Promo (Code: Like) | Big Ten Mini-Pack | Seating Chart
 Television Big Ten Network |
    Announcers: Brian Anderson (Play-By-Play), Eddie Johnson (Analyst)
 Radio Illini Sports Network | Listen (All-Access) | Sirius 91 / XM 91
 Live Stats Gametracker | Mobile Stats
 Printable Game Notes Illinois | Minnesota | Big Ten
 Season Stats Illinois | Minnesota | Big Ten
 Preview Interviews Groce Presser | Brandon Paul | Joseph Bertrand | Tracy Abrams
 Social Media @IlliniHoops   |  #Illini   | Facebook | YouTube

 Illinois Probable Starters (from previous game)
Pos. No. Name Ht. Wt. Yr. PPG RPG APG Note
G 13 Tracy Abrams 6-1 185 So. 12.1 3.9 3.4 Averaging 17.3 ppg, 6.0 rpg, 5 apg in last 3
G 1 D.J. Richardson 6-3 195 Sr. 10.6 4.7 1.9 5th on Illinois career 3FG list
G 3 Brandon Paul 6-4 200 Sr. 18.5 5.1 3.5 2nd in B1G in scoring
F 42 Tyler Griffey 6-9 220 Sr. 8.7 3.3 0.8 10th in B1G in 3FG percentage (.407)
F/C 32 Nnanna Egwu 6-11 235 So. 6.6 4.3 0.6 Career game vs. OSU with 16 p, 8 r

Social Media Ticket Special
The Illinois ticket office is offering special $16 tickets for Wednesday night's home game against Minnesota through its social media platforms. By using the promo code LIKE from the link on the Fighting Illini Basketball facebook page or the promo code TWEET from the link on the @IlliniHoops twitter account, Illini fans have an opportunity to purchase the discounted tickets and help fill The Hall once again on Wednesday.

Coaching Staff
Head Coach: John Groce
Career Record: 99-58/.631 (5th year)
At Illinois: 14-2/.875 (1st year)
Big Ten: 1-1/.500
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. Minnesota
Series Record: Illinois leads 116-63
Series Streak: Minnesota W-1
Record at Champaign: Illinois leads 70-17
Series Streak at Champaign: Illinois W-1
Last Year's Meetings:  ILL 81, MIN 72, 2OT (12/27/11 at ILL); MIN 77, ILL 72, OT (1/28/12, 2012 at MIN)
Groce vs. Minnesota: First Meeting

For Openers:
John Groce is one win away from notching his 100th career victory as a head coach ... Illinois is 8-0 at home this season ... Illinois has won 12 of the last 13 over Minnesota at Assembly Hall ... This is the fourth ranked opponent that Illinois is facing this season ... The Illini are 2-1 against ranked teams, with victories at No. 10 Gonzaga and at home over No. 8 Ohio State ... This is the first time that Illinois takes on a ranked Minnesota squad at Assembly Hall since Jan. 14, 1997, when the Illini beat the No. 7 Gophers, 96-90 ... Illinois is facing top-10 teams in consecutive games for the first time since doing so in three straight games during the 2005 NCAA Tournament, when the UI beat No. 9 Arizona in the Regional Final and No. 4 Louisville in the National Semifinal and lost to No. 2 North Carolina in the National Championship ... This is the just the third time in school history that the Illini are playing top-10 Big Ten opponents in back-to-back games, with the UI looking to win both games for the first time ever ... Illinois most recently played consecutive conference games against top-10 teams on Feb. 14 and 23, 1987, when the Illini lost at No. 4 Iowa and at home to No. 6 Purdue.

Mannie Jackson Joins Honored Jerseys
Mannie Jackson will be honored at halftime of Wednesday night's game when he raises his banner to the Assembly Hall rafters. Jackson's number 30 will join the Illini Basketball Honored Jerseys, where it will be displayed permanently in recognition of his pioneer status at Illinois and as an international leader in the game of basketball.

Jackson became the first African-American letterwinner and starter for the Illini during the 1957-58 season, alongside teammate Govonor Vaughn. Jackson was named team captain as a senior in 1960 and finished his Illini career fifth on the school's all-time scoring list with 922 points, averaging double figures all three years.

After playing professionally with the Harlem Globetrotters, he began a long and distinguished business career first at General Motors, then at Honeywell, Inc., where he quickly became one of the company's top executives. In 1993, Jackson purchased the Globetrotters and revived the legendary team's status as one of America's favorite teams.

Illini Trends
Brandon Paul has scored in double figures in all 16 games this season. It is the longest streak of his career, surpassing a stretch of 15 straight in double figures last season (Dec. 19-Feb. 15).
• Paul has led the Illini in scoring in all but three games this season.
• Paul is shooting 50 percent from the field in Big Ten play after going 6-of-12 against Ohio State and 5-of-10 at Purdue.
Tracy Abrams is averaging 17.3 points (52), 6.0 rebounds (18), 5.0 assists (15) and 3.0 steals (9) over the last three games.
• Abrams has scored in double figures in six of the last eight games.
• Abrams has totaled 15 assists the last three games (5.0 apg) after totaling four assists over the previous three games (1.3 apg).
Joseph Bertrand has scored in double figures in four of the last five games, averaging 11.4 points over that stretch (57).
D.J. Richardson has made a 3-pointer in all 16 games this season, and carries an active career-long streak of 22 straight games with at least one trey.
• Illinois has scored more than 70 points in 12 of 16 games after doing so just 10 times in 32 games last year.
• Illinois has outscored its opponent in points off turnovers in 14 of 16 games and owns a margin of +7.8 points per game in that category on the season.
• Illinois outrebounded Ohio State by 10 on Saturday (40-to-30), owning an advantage on the boards for the first time in the last four games.
• Illinois is ranked in the Top 25 for the seventh consecutive week, checking in at No. 12 in the current AP poll. This is Illinois' longest run in the Top 25 since being ranked for 12 straight weeks during the 2010-11 season.

Notes from the 74-55 Win Over No. 8 Ohio State - Jan. 5 | Recap
• The 19-point win over No. 8 Ohio State marked Illinois' largest margin of victory over a top-10 opponent in close to 50 years, dating back to Dec. 4, 1964, when the Illini defeated No. 2 UCLA, 110-83.
• The last time Illinois defeated a top-10 Big Ten opponent by a larger margin was back on Feb. 20, 1954, when Illinois defeated No. 10 Iowa, 74-51.
• The Illini claimed their second double-digit victory over a top-10 team this season, after taking down then-No. 10 Gonzaga, 85-74, on Dec. 8.
• This is the second year in a row that Illinois has defeated two top-10 teams in a season, with victories over No. 9 Michigan State (42-41) and No. 5 Ohio State (79-74) last year.
• Ohio State entered the game averaging just 10.3 turnovers. However, the Buckeyes turned the ball over 16 times against the Illini, including 11 in the first half alone. Illinois scored 17 points off of turnovers.
• The Illini defense held the Buckeyes to a season-low 55 points, its lowest output since scoring 51 in a loss last season at Michigan (Feb. 18, 2012). Ohio State made just 20 field goals, tying its season low as well as Illinois' opponent season low. OSU shot 33.3 percent from the field (20-60), the lowest field goal percentage Illinois has allowed this year.
• Illinois led from start to finish, marking the seventh time this season that the Illini never fell behind. The last time Illinois led the entire game against a Big Ten opponent was on March 12, 2011, in a 58-54 victory over Wisconsin.
Nnanna Egwu had a career-high 16 points, shooting a career-best 7-for-10 from the field and adding a team-high eight rebounds, one off his career high.

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. He is just one of seven players in the nation to lead his team in all three of those categories.

The Last Meeting
January 28, 2012
Minneapolis, Minn.
Men's Basketball Falls to Minnesota in OT, 77-72
Chip Armelin scored a season-high 14 points, and Austin Hollins highlighted a whirlwind comeback in the final minutes to finish with 14 points as Minnesota defeated Illinois 77-72 in overtime Saturday. Andre Hollins matched his namesake's energy and production down the stretch - they're not related - and had 14 points to help the Gophers (16-6, 4-5 Big Ten) prevail despite shooting only 18 for 29 from the free-throw line after halftime. Brandon Paul had 22 of his 28 points after the break for the Illini (15-6, 4-4), who surged ahead on a series of slick layups by Paul. But Meyers Leonard, who finished with 17 points and 13 rebounds, committed a costly fifth foul with 4 seconds left to give Austin Hollins a three-point play that tied the game.

Looking Back at Last Year's Minnesota Games:

• Minnesota 77, Illinois 72 (OT) // Jan. 28 at Minneapolis | Recap
Illinois dropped a heartbreaker in Minneapolis, falling to the Gophers in overtime. After trailing by nine points with 11 minutes remaining, the Illini went on a 15-2 run over the next four minutes to take the lead at 50-46. The Gophers fought back to tie the game with 1:06 left but D.J. Richardson scored on a breakaway to put the Illini up two. After a Minnesota turnover, Joseph Bertrand then made a driving layup to make it a 62-58 game with 32 seconds remaining. After a Gopher 3-pointer, Brandon Paul made a pair of free throws to put the Illini ahead 64-61 with 12 seconds left. On the ensuing possession, Minnesota's Austin Hollins drove to the basket and scored with four seconds left and Meyers Leonard was called for a foul, his fifth. Hollins then made the free throw, forcing overtime. The Gophers had momentum on their side in the extra session, jumping out to an eight-point lead. The Illini got within three near the end, but the Gophers hit two free throws with seven seconds left to close out the game.

Brandon Paul led the way for the Illini with 28 points and Meyers Leonard tallied his second straight double-double and seventh of the season with 17 points and 13 rebounds.

• Illinois 81, Minnesota 72 (2OT) // Dec. 27 at Champaign | Recap
It took 10 extra minutes but Illinois came out on top, defeating Minnesota in double-overtime in the Big Ten opener in Champaign. The Illini led by as many as 13 points early in the second half, but the Gophers went on a 19-6 run to pull even at 54 with six minutes remaining. Minnesota had a chance to win in regulation, owning a 64-62 lead and Julian Welch at the line with 15 seconds left. But Welch missed the front end of the 1-and-1, and the Illini forced overtime after Meyers Leonard was fouled and hit a pair of huge free throws with seven seconds remaining on the clock.

The first overtime played to a draw, but the Illini rolled in the second extra session, outscoring the Gophers 11-to-2. Brandon Paul and Leonard accounted for 10 of the UI's 11, Paul scoring six and Learned adding four.

Five Illini players scored in double figures, led by Paul, who scored 21 points. Leonard registered his third straight double-double with 20 points and game-high 11 rebounds. D.J. Richardson and Joseph Bertrand added 13 points apiece, while Sam Maniscalco chipped in 10.

Current Illini vs. Minnesota:
Brandon Paul (4 G): 16.8 ppg (67), 8.0 rpg (32)
Highlights: Game-high 28 points with nine rebounds last year in Minneapolis ... Team-high 21 points with seven rebounds and season-high six assists last year in Champaign ... 12 points and seven rebounds in 2011 in Minneapolis ... Season-high nine rebounds in 2010 in Champaign.
D.J. Richardson (4 G): 10.8 ppg (43), 3.3 rpg (13)
Highlights: Nine points last year in Minneapolis ... 13 points with five rebounds last year in Champaign ... 11 points in 2010 in Minneapolis ... 10 points in 2010 in Champaign.
Joseph Bertrand (2 G): 9.5 ppg (19), 0.5 rpg (1)
Highlight: 13 points last year in Champaign.
Tracy Abrams (2 G): 5 pts, 5 reb, 4 ast
Nnanna Egwu (2 G): 4 pts, 9 reb, 3 blk
Tyler Griffey (4 G): 5 pts, 3 reb
Myke Henry (1 G): 1 pts, 2 reb
Mike Shaw (1 G): 0 pts, 1 reb

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 18.5 points.
3. Has scored at least 13 points in all 16 games, with six 20-plus point performances.
4. Second among Big Ten players in free throw makes (75) and attempts (102), behind Indiana's Cody Zeller.
5. Second among Big Ten players in 3-point field goals with an average of 2.6 makes per game.

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 six of the last eight games, led by career-high 27 points Dec. 29 vs. Auburn.
4. Leads the team in steals (1.7 spg) and ranks second on the team in assists (3.4 apg).
5. Has exceeded his point total from all of last season, scoring 58 more points this year in 228 less minutes.

D.J. Richardson
1. Third Illini scoring in double figures with an average of 10.6 points.
2. Second on the team in rebounding (4.7 rpg) and steals (1.6 spg).
3. Carries a career-long active streak of 22 straight games making at least one 3-pointer.
4. Ranks fifth in school history in career 3-point field goals with 231.
5. Has started 112 career games, ninth on the UI's all-time starts list.

Tyler Griffey
1. Fifth on the team in scoring, averaging a career-best 8.7 points.
2. Shooting 40.7 percent from 3-point range, which ranks 10th in the Big Ten.
3. Seven points away from matching his scoring total from all of last season.
4. Has made 24 threes in 16 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 (59 of 109).

Nnanna Egwu
1. Started all 16 games and is averaging 24.4 minutes after averaging 9.8 minutes last season.
2. Averaging 6.6 points and 4.3 rebounds, more than tripling his scoring and nearly tripling his rebounding over last season (1.9 ppg, 1.5 rpg).
3. Coming off a career-high 16-point performance with eight rebounds Saturday vs. Ohio State.
4. Ranks sixth in the Big Ten in blocked shots (1.4 bpg).
5. Career-high five blocks Wednesday at Purdue, the most by a Big Ten player this season.

Complete Illinois-Minnesota Game Notes (PDF)