Game 18 Notes & Links: Illinois vs. Purdue
Jan. 14, 2014
Series Notes vs. PURDUE
In the last meeting between Illinois and Purdue, the Illini defeated the Boilermakers 79-59 in Champaign to snap an eight-game Purdue series winning streak. Illinois is attempting to defeat the Boilers at home in back-to-back games for the first time since 2005-06.
This is the only game this season between Illinois and Purdue. It is the Illini's second Big Ten one-play, following Sunday's loss at Northwestern. The UI's remaining singles are at Minnesota (2/19) and Michigan at home (3/4).
Tracy Abrams has scored in double figures in each of his last three games against Purdue, averaging 15.7 points against the Boilermakers (47). Up next for the Illini is a five-game stretch that includes four opponents currently ranked in the top 14. Illinois plays a total of eight games against teams currently ranked Big Ten teams - most in the conference.
The Illini are 9-1 this season and 23-3 overall under Coach John Groce when reaching the 70-point marker.
Illinois has done a great job of taking care of the basketball, averaging just 9.9 turnovers per game (third in Big Ten, 15th in NCAA). Those numbers are even better in Big Ten play, with the Illini averaging just 8.0 turnovers (32). Illinois' turnover rate of 15.1 percent ranks 25th nationally.
The Illini are allowing an average of just 62.8 points per game this season (third in Big Ten, 27th in NCAA) on 40.4 percent shooting (fifth in Big Ten, 66th in NCAA).
Only three teams have exceeded 70 points against Illinois this season: Oregon, Indiana and Wisconsin.
Illinois stands out in a number of defensive categories, ranking 31st nationally in defensive efficiency (94.8), 42nd in defensive 2-point percentage (43.4) and 33rd in defensive free throw rate (32.0).
The Illini rank fourth in the Big Ten and 53rd nationally in offensive rebound percentage, collecting 36.1 percent of their misses on the year.
Illinois has grabbed double-digit offensive boards in each of the last six games. Last week alone, the Illini averaged 19.5 offensive rebounds against Wisconsin and Northwestern.
Illinois had 25 offensive rebounds last Wednesday at Wisconsin, its most since grabbing 27 offensive boards against Maryland at the Maui Invitational on Nov. 21, 2000.
The UI starting five has clearly carried the scoring load, combining for 81.3 percent of Illinois' points on the season (973 of 1197). That percentage ranks fifth nationally among teams from the major conferences.
Rayvonte Rice leads the Big Ten in scoring with an 18.1-point average (86th in NCAA). The last Illini player to lead the conference in scoring was Brian Cook, who averaged 20.0 points as a senior in 2003.
Rice had his 16-game streak of scoring in double figures - every game of the season - come to an end with eight points Sunday at Northwestern.
Prior to the Northwestern game, Rice had led the Illini in scoring in four straight games, 10 of the previous 11, and 12 of the first 16 for the season.
Tracy Abrams has scored in double figures in six of the last seven games, leading the Illini in scoring three times and averaging 14.9 points over that stretch (104).
Over the last three games, Abrams has totaled 11 assists compared to just two turnovers.
Joseph Bertrand had scored in double figures in four-straight games for the first time in his career prior to the Northwestern game (four points). Bertrand is shooting 48 percent from 3-point range this season (12-25) after entering his senior season as a career 31.3 percent shooter from behind the arc (20-64).
The backcourt of Rice, Bertrand and Abrams have combined for 64.1 percent of Illinois' scoring the last four games, totaling 225 of the UI's 351 points.
Rice is shooting 52.7 percent on 2-pointers (79-150), while Joseph Bertrand is shooting 52.3 percent on 2s (58-111).
Jon Ekey has averaged 6.3 points (19) and 7.7 rebounds (23) over the last three games, after averaging 3.0 points and 3.0 boards the previous two games.
Nnanna Egwu, the Big Ten's No. 3 shot blocker (60th in NCAA), has recorded at least two blocks in 14 of 17 games this year.
Egwu has averaged 8.3 rebounds over the last three games (25).
Egwu leads the Big Ten in offensive rebounding in conference play with an average of 3.8 rpg. He set a career high last Wednesday at Wisconsin with nine offensive rebounds.
Following the 65-64 victory over Missouri (Dec. 21), Illinois improved to 3-0 this season in games decided by one or two points, and 8-0 overall under Groce.
Last Time Out: Northwestern 49, #23 Illini 43 (Jan. 12)
The Illini shot a season-low 28.1 percent (18-64), including 14-of-45 on 2-pointers (31.3 percent) one game after going 20-of-60 on twos at Wisconsin. Illinois had just six turnovers and again won the rebounding battle (40-36), but converted only six second-chance points off of 14 offensive boards.
Tracy Abrams was the lone Illini in double figures, finishing with a game-high 13 points. He also had six rebounds, tied his season high with five assists and added three steals.
Looking Back at Last Year's Purdue Games:
Purdue 68, #11/14 Illinois 61 // Jan. 2, 2013 at West Lafayette
The Illini charged back down the stretch, as Brandon Paul made two 3-pointers and D.J. Richardson added a trey to bring the UI within two at 63-61 with 31 seconds left. Illinois then fouled Jacob Lawson with 21 seconds to go and he missed both free throws, but D.J. Byrd came up with the offensive rebound and called timeout before falling out of bounds. Byrd then connected on a 3-point play to put the Boilers up by five and secure the win.
Illinois 79, Purdue 59 // Feb. 13, 2013 at Champaign
The Illini scored eight unanswered points before the first media timeout to grab their first lead, and held it for the remainder of the night. Illinois led 43-29 at the half and the advantage stayed in double figures the rest of the way, swelling to as many as 25 points with six minutes left before settling on the final 20-point margin.
The Illini had a balanced attack, with seven players tallying at least eight points. D.J. Richardson led all scorers with 18, while Tracy Abrams had 13 and Tyler Griffey also reached double figures with 12. Joseph Bertrand just missed a double-double, registering nine points and a career-high 12 boards, the highest rebounding total by a UI player on the season. Sam McLaurin had a season-high eight points, and Nnanna Egwu and Myke Henry also added eight apiece.
Current Illini vs. Purdue:
Tracy Abrams (4 G): 12.3 ppg (49), 3.3 rpg (13), 4.3 apg (17)
Joseph Bertrand (4 G): 10.8 ppg (43), 5.3 rpg (21)
Nnanna Egwu (4 G): 2.8 ppg (11), 2.3 rpg (9)
Mike LaTulip (1 G): 0 pts, 0 reb
Five on the Starting Five