Men's Basketball
Game 18 Notes & Links: Illinois vs. Purdue

Freshman Kendrick Nunn has seen his playing time and production increase during Big Ten play.
Freshman Kendrick Nunn has seen his playing time and production increase during Big Ten play.

 Game 18: Illinois (13-4, 2-2) vs. Purdue (11-5,1-2)
 When Wednesday, Jan. 15, 2014 | 8 p.m. CT
 Location Champaign, Ill. | State Farm Center (16,618) | Fan Guide | Parking Map
 Tickets Single-game Tickets | Seating Chart
 Promotions Benny the Bull and the Elevators | Basketball Promotions
 Television BTN (Kevin Kugler, PBP and Shon Morris, analyst)
 Watch Online
 Listen Illini Sports Network | Listen (All-Access) | Sirius 119 / XM 191
 Live Stats Gametracker | Mobile Stats
 Printable Game Notes Illinois | Purdue | Big Ten
 Season Stats Illinois | Purdue | Big Ten
 Preview Interviews Groce Press Conference | Jon Ekey | Tracy Abrams | Joseph Bertrand
 Social Media @IlliniHoops   |  #Illini | @IlliniAthletics | Facebook | YouTube

 Illinois Probable Starters (from previous game)
Pos. No. Name Ht. Wt. Yr. PPG RPG APG Note
G 13 Tracy Abrams 6-2 190 Jr. 12.6 4.1 3.3 Leads team with 56 assists
G 24 Rayvonte Rice 6-4 235 r-Jr. 18.1 5.9 1.8 Leading the Big Ten in scoring
G 2 Joseph Bertrand 6-6 200 r-Sr. 11.0 5.8 0.9 Shooting 48% from three-point range
F 33 Jon Ekey 6-7 225 Gr. 7.9 6.1 0.2 Leads team in made threes and rebounds
F/C 32 Nnanna Egwu 6-11 250 Jr. 7.6 5.7 0.4 3.8 off. rpg in B1G play leads conf.
 Off the Bench
Pos. No. Name Ht. Wt. Yr. PPG RPG APG Note
G 1 Jaylon Tate 6-3 160 Fr. 2.6 1.1 2.4 2.9 assist/turnover ratio
G 10 Mike LaTulip 6-1 170 So. 1.1 0.3 0.2 Hitting .429 from behind the arc
G 21 Malcolm Hill 6-6 210 Fr. 3.1 1.9 0.6 Has hit 25-of-32 from the line (.789)
C 22 Maverick Morgan 610 250 Fr. 1.8 1.4 0.1 Shooting 56.5 percent from field
G 25 Kendrick Nunn 6-3 180 Fr. 3.7 1.2 0.6 Leading scorer off bench
F 31 Austin Colbert 6-9 210 Fr. 1.6 1.1 0.3 Shooting 48 percent from the field
G 3 Ahmad Starks * 5-9 170 Sr. 10.4* 2.0* 2.3* Transfer must sit out 2013-14 season
G 11 Aaron Cosby * 6-3 195 Jr. 12.6* 2.5* 3.0* Transfer must sit out 2013-14 season
F 35 Darius Paul * 6-8 220 So. 10.4* 5.7* 1.7* Transfer must sit out 2013-14 season
 *2012-13 stats at former school

Jan. 14, 2014

Coaching Staff
Head Coach: John Groce
Career Record: 121-73/.624 (6th year)
At Illinois: 36-17/.679 (2nd year)
Big Ten: 10-12/.455
Assistant Coaches: Dustin Ford (2nd year), Paris Parham (2nd year), Jamall Walker (2nd year)
Special Assistant to the Head Coach: Ryan Pedon (1st year)

Series Notes vs. PURDUE
Series Record: Purdue leads 96-85
Series Streak: Illinois W-1
Record at Champaign: Illinois leads 55-34
Series Streak at Champaign: Illinois W-1
Last Year's Meetings: PUR 68, #11/14 ILL 61 (1/2/13 at West Lafayette) & ILL 79, PUR 59 (2/13/13 at Champaign)
Groce vs. Purdue: 1-1

Illini Items
• Illinois has won 13 in a row at State Farm Center, its longest home winning streak since claiming 14 straight from Feb. 16, 2011-Jan. 10, 2012. The Illini also have won six consecutive Big Ten home games, its best streak since also claiming six in a row at home in league play over the same stretch.

• 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)
Errant shooting plagued the Illini throughout the night in a 49-43 loss Sunday at Northwestern. Illinois missed a number of shots at and around the rim in managing just 15 first-half points to trail by seven at the break. Down 27-19 midway through the second half, the Illini emerged with eight unanswered points in a span of just 84 seconds to pull to a tie. Illinois again tied it at 34-all with seven minutes remaining, but the Wildcats answered with the game's pivotal run, a 9-2 spree behind a trio of 3-pointers from Trey Demps. Illinois got as close as 45-43 with 16 seconds left, before NU's Drew Crawford made four free throws to close it out.

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
Illinois' late comeback fell short in West Lafayette as the Boilermakers defeated the Illini in the 2013 Big Ten opener. Illinois led for the majority of the first half and was ahead 45-39 with 12 minutes remaining. But that's when Purdue began a game-changing 20-4 run to seize control. During that stretch, the Illini made just one of 15 shots as the tide turned to a 59-49 advantage for the Boilermakers with just over three minutes left.

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.

Paul led the Illini with 15 points, Joseph Bertrand netted 14 off the bench, and Tracy Abrams added 12.

The Last Meeting
February 13, 2013
Assembly Hall
Illinois Rolls Past Purdue, 79-59
D.J. Richardson scored 18 points and Illinois opened up a big first-half lead that buried Purdue 79-59 on Wednesday night.

• Illinois 79, Purdue 59 // Feb. 13, 2013 at Champaign
Illinois earned a long-awaited victory over Purdue, rolling past the Boilermakers at home. The win snapped an eight-game skid against the Boilers, giving the Illini their first win over Purdue since 2009.

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)
Highlights: 13 points, seven assists and five rebounds last year in Champaign ... 12 points and five assists last year in West Lafayette ... Season-high 22 points in 2012 in Champaign.

Joseph Bertrand (4 G): 10.8 ppg (43), 5.3 rpg (21)
Highlights: Nine points and career-high 12 rebounds last year in Champaign ... 14 points and seven boards last year in West Lafayette ... 12 points and career-high five assists in 2012 in Champaign ... Eight points in first career start in 2012 in West Lafayette.

Nnanna Egwu (4 G): 2.8 ppg (11), 2.3 rpg (9)
Highlights: Eight points last year in Champaign ... Career-high five blocked shots last year in West Lafayette.

Mike LaTulip (1 G): 0 pts, 0 reb

Five on the Starting Five

Rayvonte Rice
1. Big Ten's leading scorer with average of 18.1 points.
2. Has been the UI's top scorer in 12 of 17 games.
3. Scored at least 12 points in first 16 games of season, with six 20-plus point performances.
4. Leads team in steals, averaging 1.4 spg (10th in Big Ten).
5. Big Ten's No. 6 active career scoring leader with 1,291 points (includes two seasons at Drake).

Tracy Abrams
1. Second on the team in scoring at 12.6 ppg, the best scoring average of his career (10.6 ppg last year).
2. Team leader in assists, averaging 3.3 per game.
3. Scored in double figures in six of last seven games, led by season-high 22 points vs. Missouri (Dec. 21).
4. Nearly 2-to-1 assist/turnover ratio on the season (1.93).
5. Illini's active career scoring leader with 731 points.

Joseph Bertrand
1. Team's third-leading scorer is averaging double figures for first time, a career-best 11.0 points.
2. Also has improved his rebounding, averaging career-best 5.8 boards this season.
3. Shooting 51.5 percent from the field, ranking 13th in the Big Ten.
4. Has made 48 percent from 3-point range this year after entering season as career 31.3 percent 3-point shooter.
5. Illinois' lone scholarship senior to play entire career with the Orange and Blue.

Jon Ekey
1. Graduate transfer from Illinois State ranks fourth on the team in scoring, averaging 7.9 points.
2. Knocked down 32 threes in 17 games after making a total of 31 treys in 33 games last season at ISU.
3. Average of 1.9 threes per game ranks eighth in Big Ten.
4. Illini's leading rebounder with average of 6.1 boards (14th in Big Ten).
5. Big Ten's No. 6 active career rebounding leader with 536 boards (includes three seasons at ISU).

Nnanna Egwu
1. Illini's fifth-leading scorer with career-best 7.6-point average.
2. Big Ten's No. 3 shot blocker is averaging 2.2 blocks, up from average of 1.4 blocks last season.
3. Tied season high with 10 rebounds last week at Wisconsin, including career high nine on offensive end.
4. Leads Big Ten in offensive rebounds in conference play with 3.8 per game.
5. Started 53 of Illinois' last 56 games dating back to the end of his freshman campaign.

Complete Illinois-Purdue Game Notes (PDF)