The Illini take on Ohio State Tuesday at 8 p.m. CT.
Jan. 21, 2008
Champaign, Ill. -
FIGHTING ILLINI BASKETBALL
Game #20: Illinois (9-10, 1-5) at Ohio State (12-6, 3-2)
Jan. 22, 2008 8 p.m. CT / 9 p.m. ET BTN
Columbus, Ohio Value City Arena (19,049)
On the Air
BTN: Dave Revsine, play-by-play; Jim Jackson & Gene Keady, expert analysts.
Illini Sports Network - 45 stations: Brian Barnhart, play-by-play; Jerry Hester, expert analyst; Loren Tate, pregame/halftime/postgame interviews.
Illini Probable Starters
F - 42 Brian Randle (r-Sr, 6-8, 220, 10.5 ppg, 5.7 rpg, 1.4 apg)
C - 55 Shaun Pruitt (Sr., 6-10, 245, 12.9 ppg, 7.9 rpg)
G - 25 Calvin Brock (r-Jr., 6-5, 195, 8.2 ppg, 3.8 rpg, 1.5 apg, 1.3 spg)
G - 1 Trent Meacham (r-Jr., 6-2, 195, 10.2 ppg, 2.5 rpg, 2.9 apg)
G - 32 Demetri McCamey (Fr., 6-3, 205, 6.3 ppg, 2.3 rpg, 2.7 apg)
Off the Bench
G - 2 Chris Hicks (Sr., 6-2, 190, 0.2 ppg, 0.0 rpg)
G - 3 Chester Frazier (Jr., 6-2, 190, 4.7 ppg, 5.2 rpg, 4.2 apg)
G - 13 Jeff Jordan (Fr., 6-1, 185, 1.0 ppg, 0.3 rpg)
G - 22 Steve Holdren (r-Jr., 6-5, 200, 1.2 ppg, 1.0 rpg)
F - 23 Rodney Alexander (Jr., 6-7, 225, 4.7 ppg, 3.0 rpg)
F - 24 Mike Davis (Fr., 6-9, 195, 2.7 ppg, 1.8 rpg)
F - 30 Bill Cole (Fr., 6-9, 210, 2.3 ppg, 1.6 rpg)
C - 33 Brian Carlwell (So., 6-11, 265, 0.0 ppg, 0.0 rpg)
F - 50 Richard Semrau (r-Fr., 6-9, 235, 0.0 ppg, 0.5 rpg)
C - 54 Mike Tisdale (Fr., 7-1, 215, 4.0 ppg, 1.6 rpg)
Illinois Head Coach Bruce Weber
Overall Record: 224-92/.709 (10th year)
At Illinois: 121-38/.761 (5th year)
Big Ten: 49-21/.700
Vs. Ohio State: 3-4
Assistant Coaches: Wayne McClain (7th year), Jay Price (5th year), Jerrance Howard (1st year)
Assistant to the Head Coach: Gary Nottingham (5th year)
Trainer: Al Martindale (25th year at Illinois)
Ohio State Head Coach: Thad Matta
Overall Record: 195-59/.768 (8th year)
At Ohio State: 93-28/.769 (4th year)
Vs. Illinois: 4-1
Series Notes: Ohio State
Illinois leads the all-time series 100-63 over Ohio State. In games played in Columbus, each team has won 39 times. Following five straight Illini wins in the series, Ohio State has won the last four match-ups.
In the Big Ten opener for both teams on Jan. 3, Ohio State defeated Illinois 74-58 at the Assembly Hall.
Back on the Road
Illinois is in the midst of playing three of four games on the road. Following the trip to Purdue last Saturday, the Illini are next at Ohio State Tuesday. Illinois returns to Champaign to host Northwestern Sunday night and concludes the month with another road game, at Michigan State (Jan. 30).
Illini Headlines ...
Seven of Illinois' next eight games will be televised by the Big Ten Network.
Including Tuesday's game at Ohio State, five of Illinois' first seven conference games have come against teams in the top five of the current standings, four of which have been on the road.
Randle is averaging 14.3 points (43) and 10.3 rebounds (31) over the last three games. He had nine points and 10 rebounds at Indiana, a career-high 19 points with 10 boards vs. Michigan, and his second consecutive double-double with 15 points and a season-high 11 rebounds at Purdue.
Pruitt, meanwhile, is averaging 16.0 points (48) and 8.0 rebounds (24) over the last three games. He had 14 points and eight rebounds at Indiana, 19 points and seven boards vs. Michigan, and 15 points and nine boards at Purdue.
Pruitt and Randle combined for 38 points vs. Michigan last Wednesday, equaling the senior duo's highest scoring total of the season. They also combined for 38 points vs. Miami (OH) on Dec. 20.
Calvin Brock leads the Big Ten in 3-point field goal shooting in conference play, shooting 75 percent (6-8).
Trent Meacham is averaging 11.0 points over the last four games (44) after totaling just five points over the previous two games. He had 14 points at Wisconsin, eight at Indiana and 11 vs. both Michigan and Purdue.
Chester Frazier has a 4.8 assist-to-turnover ratio over his last four games (19 a/4 to).
Meacham has a 2.6 assist-to-turnover ratio over the last three games (13 a/5 to).
Shaun Pruitt leads the Big Ten in offensive rebounds with an average of 3.6 per game (68 total off. reb.). He ranks fourth in the league in total rebounds (7.9 avg).
Trent Meacham knocked down 4-of-5 three-pointers vs. Wisconsin on Jan. 10, the top 3-point shooting performance by an Illini player this season.
Shaun Pruitt has scored at least nine points in all but two games this season.
Eight different players have been the Illini's leading scorer in a game this season (Brian Randle-7, Shaun Pruitt-6, Trent Meacham-4, Calvin Brock-2, Rodney Alexander-1, Demetri McCamey-1, Mike Tisdale-1, Chester Frazier-1)
Only five teams have scored more than 70 points against the Illini this year (last: Purdue, Jan. 19, 74 pts).
Illinois has not allowed an opponent to score 80 or more points in 45 consecutive games. The last team to do so was Arizona on Dec. 2, 2006 (84 points).
Illinois has only had two opponents this season shoot better than 46 percent from the field (Duke on Nov. 20 - 56.5%, and Wisconsin on Jan. 10 - 52.1%).
Illinois has outrebounded its opponent in 14 of 19 games and ranks fourth in the Big Ten in rebound margin at +5.2 rpg.
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 became the first Illini to earn Player of the Week honors since James Augustine on Dec. 5, 2005.
Pruitt has started every game over the past two-and-a-half seasons, entering the Ohio State game with an active streak of 87 consecutive starts.
Pruitt is Illinois' active career scoring leader with 877 career points. If he maintains his season scoring average, Pruitt should join the 1,000-point club around the first week of March. He is also 31 points away from joining the Top 50 list of Illinois' all-time leading scorers (No. 50 Stephen Bardo - 908 pts).
There have been 54 consecutive sellout crowds at the Assembly Hall entering the next home game vs. Northwestern on Jan. 27. The streak began on Dec. 6, 2004.
Last Time Out: Purdue
Illinois let another second half lead slip away Saturday at Purdue, falling 74-67. The Illini led the entire first half and part of the second half before the Boilermakers turned the tide. With the Illini leading 42-35 with 14:30 left, Purdue went on a 16-1 run over the next five minutes to take a 51-43 lead with 9:30 remaining. Illinois cut it to three points at 60-57 with under four to play but could get no closer down the stretch.
Illinois shot 49 percent compared to Purdue's 41.5 percent and outrebounded the Boilers 38-25. But turnovers and free throws plagued the Illini. The UI committed a season-high 21 turnovers, 15 of which came in the second half, and made just 10-21 at the foul line.
Brian Randle and Shaun Pruitt led the Illini, scoring 15 points apiece. Randle recorded his second straight double-double with a season-high 11 rebounds, while Pruitt grabbed nine boards. Trent Meacham also finished in double figures with 11 points.
Seniors Provide 1-2 Punch
Seniors Shaun Pruitt and Brian Randle have been very effective over the last three games, with the program's two most experienced players providing a powerful 1-2 punch in the Illini lineup. Pruitt and Randle combined to average 30.3 points and 18.3 boards vs. Indiana, Michigan and Purdue, accounting for 45.5 percent of the team's scoring and 50 percent of its rebounds.
Oh So Close
In six of its 10 losses, Illinois has either led, been tied or trailed by no more than two points with less than two minutes remaining ... Illinois has led during the second half in six losses ... Seven of Illinois' losses have been by eight points or less ... Illinois is 3-7 on the year in games decided by less than nine points.
Illinois has played one of the nation's most difficult schedules this season. Illinois' strength of schedule currently ranks 19th. The Illini own the fourth-toughest SOS in the Big Ten behind Ohio State (7), Michigan State (12) and Michigan (15).
Illinois has already played five teams in the current top 25 of the RPI and will face its sixth on Tuesday in Ohio State, which is currently ranked 24th.
Lock Down "D"
Illinois has been one of the nation's top defensive teams each year under Bruce Weber. This year's squad looks to continue that style of aggressive man-to-man defensive pressure throughout each game. Illinois ranks sixth in the Big Ten and 42nd nationally in scoring defense with opponents averaging 62.3 points per game on the season. The Illini are fourth in the league and 31st in the NCAA in field goal percentage defense (.391) and second in the conference in 3-point field goal percentage defense (.310).
No team has reached 80 points on the Illini this season, with just five opponents scoring more than 70 points. Illinois' defense also has allowed only two teams to shoot over 46 percent from the field.
Illinois' defense has stood out this year against two of the nation's top scoring teams. Missouri ranks 15th in the NCAA in scoring, averaging 82.1 ppg. But Illinois held the Tigers to a season-low 58 points, 24 points below its average, in a Braggin' Rights victory on Dec. 22.
Illinois held Indiana, the Big Ten's top scoring team and No. 22 in the NCAA, nearly 20 points below its season average on Jan. 13. The Hoosiers are averaging 81.3 points but scored a season-low 62 vs. the Illini.
Illinois has also had two other memorable defensive efforts this season. The Illini 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 also 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.
Dominating the Glass
Illinois has outrebounded 14 of 19 opponents this year and owns a rebounding margin of +5.2 on the season. Illinois ranks fourth in the Big Ten in rebounding margin and is fifth in the conference in total rebounds, averaging 38.1 rpg.
Illinois' bench is contributing 20.4 points per game (388 total) and has had eight double-figure scoring games by players off the bench this season.
Pruitt a Force Inside
Illinois has one of the top post players in the Big Ten in senior and three-year starting center Shaun Pruitt. A preseason All-Big Ten selection, Pruitt leads the Illini in scoring and rebounding, averaging 12.9 points (15th in Big Ten) and 7.9 rebounds (fourth in Big Ten). He is also fourth in the league in field goal shooting at 53.9 percent (96-178).
Pruitt has scored at least nine points in all but two games this season, with a career-high 24 points vs. both Arizona and Miami (OH), 19 vs. Michigan, 16 vs. Loyola (MD), 15 at Hawaii and Purdue, 14 vs. Missouri and Indiana, 12 vs. Northeastern and Ohio State, 11 vs. Duke and Western Carolina, 10 at Maryland, and nine each vs. Arizona State, Oklahoma State, Penn State and Wisconsin.
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 (Arizona through Loyola) before the streak came to an end vs. Tennessee State on Dec. 30 (7 points). It marked the first time he reached double figures in five straight games since his career-long streak of six straight games last season (1/20/07 through 2/7/07).
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 fourth in the Big Ten in rebounding, Pruitt leads the league in offensive rebounds with an average of 3.6 per game (68 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 Ohio State game with an active streak of 87 consecutive starts. He is Illinois' active career scoring leader with 877 career points. If he maintains his season scoring average, Pruitt should join the 1,000-point club around the first week of March. He is also 31 points away from joining the Top 50 list of Illinois' all-time leading scorers (No. 50 Stephen Bardo - 908 pts).
Randle More Aggressive on Offense
Senior and three-year starter Brian Randle currently carries a career-high scoring average of 10.5 points, ranking second on the team. He reached double figures in each of the first four games this season, a career-best streak, before it came to an end vs. Oklahoma State on Nov. 21 when he left due to injury just seven minutes into the game. Randle had 14 points in the opener vs. Northeastern, 12 points at Hawaii, 17 points vs. Arizona State and 16 points vs. Duke.
Randle returned to double figures vs. Arizona on Dec. 8, scoring 11 points with five assists. 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 notched 17 points against Loyola (MD), hitting 7-of-10 shots.
He was off to another strong start vs. Tennessee State on Dec. 30, with six points and six boards before suffering a mild concussion just before halftime.
Randle returned to the court vs. Ohio State on Jan. 3 and led the Illini in scoring with 14 points.
He had a strong outing vs. Indiana with nine points and 10 rebounds while playing all 40 minutes for the first time in his career.
Randle scored a career-high 19 points in the win over Michigan last Wednesday. He also recorded the second double-double of his career with 10 boards against the Wolverines.
He most recently tallied his second straight double-double, and third of his career Saturday at Purdue with 15 points and a season-high 11 rebounds, along with a career-high tying six assists.
Over the last three games, Randle is averaging 14.3 points and 10.3 rebounds.
Randle ranks second on the team in field goal percentage on the season, shooting 50.3 percent from the field (11th in Big Ten). He also is the team's second-leading rebounder with an average of 5.7 boards on the season (14th in Big Ten).
Freshman point guard Demetri McCamey has been a bright spot for the Illini in recent weeks, earning increased playing time and starting the last four games after entering the starting lineup for the first time in his career at Wisconsin on Jan. 10.
McCamey had nine points each vs. Loyola (MD) and Tennessee State. He then reached double figures in his first career Big Ten game with 10 points vs. Ohio State.
McCamey had the best game of his young career vs. Penn State, scoring a career-high 18 points on 7-12 shooting, including 4-6 from behind the arc. He scored Illinois' last eight points of the game, all in the final two minutes, on a layup and back-to-back 3-pointers.
McCamey had nine points, a season-high seven rebounds and four assists at Wisconsin. He then had six points and five assists without a turnover in a career-high 38 minutes at Indiana.
He had seven points and tied his career high with six assists in the win over Michigan last Wednesday.
McCamey is fifth on the Illini in scoring on the year (6.3 ppg) and ranks third on the team in assists (2.7 apg).
Brock on a Roll
Calvin Brock, who was arguably the Illini's top player during the month of November, has reestablished himself over the past two weeks. Brock is averaging 10.8 points (54) on 59 percent shooting (23-39) over the last five games after scoring a season-high 15 points vs. Penn State, 14 points at Wisconsin, eight at Indiana, 11 vs. Michigan and six at Purdue.
He ranks third on the team in scoring in conference games (9.8 ppg) and is shooting 56.8 percent from the field (25-44). He also leads the league by shooting 75 percent (6-8) from behind the arc in conference play.
Brock is fourth on the Illini in scoring and rebounding on the season, averaging 8.2 points and 3.8 boards. He also leads the team in steals (1.3 spg).
Frazier Does It All
Point guard Chester Frazier has earned a reputation for his relentless play and ability to impact the game in all areas. Leading the team in playing time at 33.1 minutes per contest (fifth in Big Ten), Frazier is averaging 4.7 points. He leads the Illini and ranks sixth in the conference in assists (4.2 apg) and is second on the team in steals (0.7 spg).
Despite standing 6-2, Frazier also is third on the team in rebounding with an average of 5.2 rpg. He currently ranks 16th 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, Penn State and Michigan, and seven at Maryland. He has been the UI's leading rebounder in five games this season.
Frazier has played through a number of injuries over the course of his career, including a strained quad, turf toe, sprained ankle, and sprained knee. His most recent mishap came during the Penn State game when he suffered strained cartilage in his rib cage that has caused him to miss practice since Jan. 7. He was scratched from the starting lineup vs. Wisconsin and was considered doubtful, but came off the bench to play 30 minutes despite the pain. Frazier had a season-high seven assists vs. the Badgers with just one turnover.
Frazier did not play at Indiana due to the injury but returned to action vs. Michigan last Wednesday, grabbing eight boards in 25 minutes off the bench.
Over the last four games in which he has played, Frazier has a 4.8 assist-to-turnover ratio (19 assists/4 turnovers). He ranks fourth in the league with a 2.3 assist-to-turnover ratio in conference play.
Meacham Settles in at Shooting Guard
Junior Trent Meacham shared time at point guard and shooting guard last season, but with the addition of freshman Demetri McCamey to share point guard responsibilities with junior Chester Frazier, Coach Weber has Meacham focusing solely on the shooting guard position this season. The move has helped Meacham settle in and define his role on this year's squad.
Meacham is third on the Illini in scoring with an average of 10.2 points. He is also ninth in the Big Ten with an average of 2.2 treys per game (39 total).
Meacham has had some big scoring games this season, topping 20 points twice and reaching double figures eight times on the year. Meacham scored a career-high 26 points vs. Weber State on Dec. 1 and had 24 vs. Tennessee State on Dec. 30. He also scored 17 vs. Oklahoma State (Nov. 21), 16 vs. Arizona (Dec. 8), 14 at Wisconsin (Jan. 10), 13 vs. Missouri (Dec. 22) and 11 vs. both Michigan and Purdue.
*For complete set of Illinois men's basketball game notes, click on .pdf link at top of this page.