Men's Basketball
Men's Basketball Game Notes vs. Wisconsin

 
Brandon Paul is leading the Big Ten in scoring during conference games.
Brandon Paul is leading the Big Ten in scoring during conference games.
 

Jan. 21, 2012

Game 20 Notes // #22/25 Illinois (15-4, 4-2) vs. Wisconsin (15-5, 4-3)

Jan. 22, 2012 // 1 p.m. CT // Champaign, Ill. // Assembly Hall (16,618)

Complete Game Notes (PDF): Illinois | Wisconsin | Big Ten

Gameday Links: Watch | Listen | Gametracker | Mobile Livestats | Twitter

Preview Interviews: Leonard | Paul | Richardson

TV: BTN - Brian Anderson, (Play-By-Play), Gary Williams (Analyst)
Radio: Illini Sports Network - Brian Barnhart (Play-By-Play), Jerry Hester (Analyst), Loren Tate (Reports)
Satellite Radio: Sirius - 91, XM - 91

Probable Starters (from the previous game)

Pos.	No.	Name    	Ht.	Wt.	Yr.	PPG	RPG	APG	Other
G	13	Tracy Abrams 	6-1	185	Fr.	2.4	2.5	1.5	18.9 mpg
G	1	D.J. Richardson	6-3	195	Jr.	12.6	2.9	2.1	40.0  3FG%
G	3	Brandon Paul	6-4	200	Jr.	14.2	4.7	3.2	1.6 spg
G	2	Joseph Bertrand	6-5	195	r-So.	6.7	2.5	1.1	60.4  FG%
C	12	Meyers Leonard	7-1	245	So.	13.1	7.6	1.4	2.1 bpg

Off the Bench

Pos.	No.	Name    	Ht. 	Wt.	Yr.	PPG	RPG	APG	Other
G	0	Sam Maniscalco	6-0	180	Gr.	9.9	2.4	2.9	83.8  FT%
F	15	Mike Shaw	6-8	230	Fr.	1.1	2.3	0.1	8.3 mpg
G/F	20	Myke Henry	6-6	230	Fr.	3.5	1.2	0.2 	46.9  FG%
G/F	21	Devin Langford	6-7	200	Fr.
F/C	23	Ibby Djimde	6-8	250	Fr.	0.5	1.1	0.0	4.5 mpg
G	25	Jean Selus 	6-2	195	Sr.	0.0	0.2	0.2	6 minutes
F/C	32	Nnanna Egwu	6-11	245	Fr.	2.2	1.8	0.3	51.4  FG%
F	42	Tyler Griffey	6-8	230	Jr.	5.4	3.7	0.5	27 off. reb.
G	44	Kevin Berardini	6-0	175	r-So.	0.0	0.0	0.0	4 minutes

Coaching Staff
Head Coach: Bruce Weber
Career Record: 311-144/.684 (14th year)
At Illinois: 208-90/.698 (9th year)
Big Ten: 87-55/.613
Associate Head Coach: Wayne McClain (11th year)
Assistant Coaches: Jay Price (9th year), Jerrance Howard (5th year)
Assistant to the Head Coach: Gary Nottingham (9th year)
Director of Basketball Operations: Sean Harrington (4th year)

Series Notes vs. Wisconsin
Series Record: Illinois leads 110-75
Last Season's Meetings: ILL 69, WIS 61 (1/2/11 // Champaign, Ill.); WIS 76, ILL 66 (1/15/11 // Madison, Wis.)
Series Streak: Wisconsin W-1
Record at Champaign: Illinois leads 68-21
Series Streak at Champaign: Illinois W-1 Weber vs. Wisconsin: 9-10

Opening Tip
Illinois aims to get back on the winning track this weekend following Thursday night's loss at Penn State. The Illini host Wisconsin on Sunday at 1 p.m. in front of the first sellout crowd of the season at the Assembly Hall. Illinois also looks to extend its 14-game winning streak at The Hall, the second-longest active homecourt streak in the Big Ten behind Ohio State.

The Illini split the season series with Wisconsin last year, each team winning on its homecourt. Illinois is attempting to win consecutive home games against the Badgers for the first time since winning seven straight from 1998-2005. Wisconsin sits just outside the Top 25 this week, receiving votes in both polls. The last time a non-ranked Badgers team won at the Assembly Hall was in 1997.

Bouncing Back
Illinois has responded well when returning home after a road loss. During Coach Bruce Weber's nine seasons in Champaign, the Illini have won 18 of 23 games (.783) at the Assembly Hall when following a road defeat, including five straight victories entering Sunday's match-up with Wisconsin. All but one of the losses came to ranked opponents, the lone exception Purdue in 2008. The last time Illinois fell at home after a road loss was the final regular season game in 2010 when No. 15 Wisconsin defeated the Illini in Champaign.

Illinois Basketball Honored Coaches Program Continues With Combes
The coaching legacy of the late Harry Combes will be honored on Sunday at the Assembly Hall, as his nephews Dave and Ted Combes of Monticello, Ill. will participate in a pregame banner raising ceremony. Combes, along with UI standout coaches Lou Henson, Doug Mills and Ralph Jones, will be permanently recognized at the Assembly Hall through the creation of the Honored Coaches program. Their coaching banners will be displayed from the rafters, hanging alongside the Honored Jerseys that feature 30 all-time great Illini players.

Basketball mentors selected as Honored Coaches must have achieved all of the following criteria: 1) minimum career winning percentage at Illinois of .650; 2) Big Ten championship or NCAA Final Four appearance; 3) minimum of eight years as head coach at Illinois, which covers two four-year class cycles of student-athletes; 4) non-active coach.

Combes directed the Fighting Illini to 316 victories during his 20 seasons in Champaign from 1948-67. He led the UI to three Final Fours and Big Ten championships in 1949, 1951 and 1952, and a fourth Big Ten title in 1963. Combes' 174 wins in conference play rank eighth in league history.

Last Time Out
It was deja vu all over again for Illinois in Happy Valley, falling to Penn State 54-52 on Thursday night. It marked the Illini's fourth loss in the last five years at University Park - all of which have gone down to the final possession and been decided by one or two points.

The Illini jumped out to a 17-9 lead but then went more than five-and-a-half minutes without a field goal as the Lions went on an 11-2 run to move ahead. PSU led by two at intermission and began the second half on a 10-3 spree to open up its largest lead of the night at 35-26 with 14 minutes remaining. The Illini then began to slowly chip away, drawing to within one point on three separate occasions before finally pulling even at 52-all on a 3-pointer by Brandon Paul with 40 seconds remaining. Tim Frazier scored on the Lions' ensuing possession, hitting a pull-up jumper with eight seconds left to put the hosts up two. The Illini's bid to force overtime was denied when Sam Maniscalco's layup was blocked by a PSU defender at the buzzer.

Paul led the Illini with a game-high 20 points and Meyers Leonard added 15. While those two accounted for 35 points on 11-of-23 shooting, the rest of the Illini managed just 17 points on 6-of-26 from the field.

Paul Named National Player and Big Ten Player of the Week
Brandon Paul was an obvious choice for individual accolades following his historic performance in the win over No. 5 Ohio State last week. Paul is the reigning Oscar Robertson National Player of the Week by the U.S. Basketball Writers Association and Big Ten Player of the Week by the conference office. Here are 10 notes about Paul's night against the Buckeyes on Jan. 10:

1. Paul scored a career-high 43 points, the third-most in a game in school history and the most since Andy Kaufmann scored 46 vs. Wisconsin-Milwaukee in 1990.

2. Paul's 43 points equaled the second-highest single-game total in the NCAA this season behind only Creighton's Doug McDermott, who scored 44 points vs. Bradley on Jan. 7.

3. Paul's 43 points were the most by a Big Ten player in a game since Glenn Robinson scored 44 vs. Kansas in the 1994 Sweet 16. They were the most in a Big Ten conference game since Robinson scored 49 vs. Illinois on March 13, 1994.

4. Paul made 8-of-10 from three-point range to match the Illinois record for most threes in a game. He shares the record with Dee Brown, Trent Meacham and Kevin Turner.

5. Paul was incredibly efficient in the game, hitting 11-of-15 (.733) field goals, 8-of-10 (.800) three-pointers and 13-of-15 (.867) from the line. With 43 points on just 15 field goal attempts, Paul is the first NCAA player in the past 16 seasons with 43+ points on 15 or fewer FGA.

6. Paul scored Illinois' final 15 points of the game over the last 2:40, outscoring OSU 15-8 down the stretch.

7. Paul also had a team-high eight rebounds and a career-high four blocks, including a key one late on Jared Sullinger with 30 seconds remaining. Over the past 10 seasons, the only other players with 40 points, eight rebounds and four blocks in a game are Al Thornton (2006-07) and Chris Kaman (2002-03).

8. The 43 points by Paul are the fourth-most ever scored against Ohio State and are the most against the Buckeyes since Central Michigan's Tommie Johnson had 45 on Jan. 2, 1987.

9. Paul's 43 points were more than the team total of five opponents Ohio State has defeated this season.

10. Paul scored 28 points in the second half, more than any UI player has scored in a full game this season.

Paul Tops Big Ten Scoring List
Brandon Paul is the Big Ten's No. 1 scorer one-third of the way through conference action, averaging 20.3 points in league games. The last Illini player to lead the conference in scoring was Brian Cook during his senior season in 2003. He averaged exactly 20.0 points during league play, which also is the last time an Illini player averaged at least 20 points.

Streakin' at The Hall
Illinois' current 14-game home winning streak is the second longest in the Big Ten behind Ohio State, and the seventh longest in the 50-season history of the Assembly Hall. Coach Bruce Weber's teams have been a part of the three of the top seven winning streaks at The Hall. Here is a look at the longest Assembly Hall winning streaks for the Illini:

Rk.	Streak	First Win	Last Win	Coach
1.	33	Jan. 17, 2004	Jan. 28, 2006	Bruce Weber
2.	31	Jan. 5, 1984	Jan. 2, 1986	Lou Henson
3.	28	Jan. 22, 2000	Jan. 23, 2002	Lon Kruger (6) / Bill Self (22)
	28	Feb. 11, 1988	Jan. 4, 1990	Lou Henson
5.	23	Feb. 9, 2002	Jan. 7, 2004	Bill Self (17) / Bruce Weber (6)
6.	18	Dec. 2, 1968	Jan. 10, 1970	Harv Schmidt
7.	14	Feb. 16, 2011	current	Bruce Weber

Five Facts on ...

Brandon Paul
1. Leads Illini in scoring on the season (14.2 ppg), and leads Big Ten in scoring in conference play (20.3 ppg).
2. Scored career-high 43 points last week vs. Ohio State (see page 3 for more details).
3. Scored in double figures in 12 of the last 13 games, including each of the last eight. Averaging 19.5 points (156) and 5.9 rebounds (47) over the last eight games.
4. Leads Illini in assists with 3.2 average.
5. Has made 93 trips to the free throw line this season, the second-highest total among Big Ten guards behind Penn State's Tim Frazier (146 FTA).

Meyers Leonard
1. Leads the Illini and ranks third in the Big Ten in rebounding (7.8 rpg), and is tied for second on the team in scoring (13.0 ppg).
2. Ranks third in the Big Ten in field goal shooting at 59.9 percent (91-152).
3. Leads the conference in blocked shots, averaging 2.1 bpg (38).
4. Five double-doubles on the season, ranking third among Big Ten players.
5. Increased his scoring average by 10.9 points (2.1 ppg last year), second-best improvement in the Big Ten behind Penn State's Tim Frazier (+11.9 ppg).

D.J. Richardson
1. Third on team in scoring with an average of 12.6 points.
2. Leads the Illini in 3-point shooting at 40 percent (46-115).
3. Average of 2.4 threes per game ranks third in Big Ten.
4. Increased his scoring average by 4.2 points over last year (8.4 ppg), when he was UI's fifth-leading scorer.
5. Despite playing nearly 82 percent of available minutes, has a turnover rate of less than 12 percent.

Joseph Bertrand
1. Averaging 12.7 points (89) on 68.3 percent shooting (41-60) over the last seven games.
2. Shooting 60.4 percent from the field on the season, and Big Ten-best 62.7 percent in league play (32-51).
3. Averaging 11.7 points in Big Ten play, five points better than his all-games average of 6.7 points.
4. Scored career-high 25 points Jan. 7 vs. Nebraska.
5. Made 12 consecutive shots in two-game stretch the first week of January (last four at Northwestern-1/4, first eight vs. Nebraska-1/7) after making 13 consecutive shots over two-game stretch the last week of December (all nine vs. Missouri-12/22, first four vs. Minnesota-12/27).

Sam Maniscalco
1. Fourth-leading UI scorer with average of 9.3 points.
2. Leads Illini with a 2.19 assist-to-turnover ratio (46-21).
3. Shooting nearly 84 percent from the free throw line (31-37).
4. Third on the team in 3-point field goals with 21.
5. Returned to action Thursday at Penn State after missing previous three games with ankle injury.

Tracy Abrams
1. Started last four games after starting first two games of his career.
2. Scored career-high eight points vs. Nebraska on Jan. 7.
3. Played a career-high 30 minutes at Northwestern on Jan. 4, and did not commit a turnover.
4. Grabbed 20 rebounds over the last six games (3.3 rpg).
5. First Illini true-freshman point guard to start first career game since Dee Brown started opener in 2002-03.

Tyler Griffey
1. Averaging 5.4 points and 3.6 boards this year, more than tripling his scoring and rebounding averages from last season (1.6 ppg and 1.2 rpg in 2010-11).
2. Ranks second on the Illini with 27 offensive rebounds.
3. Has scored in double figures three times this year after totaling three double-figure scoring games over his first two seasons.
4. Illinois is 17-2 in games he has started during his career (13-2 this season, 4-0 in 2009-10).
5. Scored five points Thursday at Penn State, his highest total since the Cornell game on Dec. 19 (8 pts).

Looking Back at Last Season's Games vs. Wisconsin:

• #23/24 Illinois 69, #-/24 Wisconsin 61 // Jan. 2 // Champaign
Illinois got the job done both offensively and defensively in defeating Wisconsin at the Assembly Hall. After a frenetic start where the lead changed hands nine times in the first 13 minutes, the Illini went on an 8-0 run to take a 33-25 lead with four minutes left in the half. The UI led by three at intermission and opened the second half by outscoring the Badgers 11-4 to grab its first double-digit lead at 48-38 with 13 minutes remaining. Wisconsin would get no closer than six the rest of the way as the Badgers struggled from the field, shooting just 9-of-32 in the second half and 35 percent for the game (21-60). Illinois, meanwhile, shot 56.1 percent, hitting 23-of-41 shots. The Illini also grabbed 34 boards to Wisconsin's 25.

Demetri McCamey led the way with 21 points and seven assists. Mike Davis tallied his third double-double of the season with 11 points and a season-high 14 rebounds, and Bill Cole added 11 points.

• #20/21 Wisconsin 76, #16/16 Illinois 66 // Jan. 15 // Madison
Illinois was unable to sweep the season series against Wisconsin, falling to the Badgers at the Kohl Center. Illinois fought back from seven- and five-point deficits during the first half to retake the lead, but a 3-pointer by Tim Jarmusz at the buzzer put the Badgers up 27-25 at half. Wisconsin then opened the second half on a quick 13-2 run to open up its largest lead at 40-27 with 15 minutes left. The Illini chipped away, getting as close as six at 53-47 with six minutes remaining. But the Badgers extended it back to double figures and remained in control once the game turned into a free throw shooting contest. A total of 54 fouls where called (30 on Illinois, 24 on Wisconsin) and the teams combined to shoot 77 free throws. Illinois went 30-for-36 from the line (83.3 percent) while the Badgers shot 34-of-41 (82.9 percent).

Illinois struggled from the field, shooting a season-low 30.2 percent (16-53) and making just 4-of-16 from behind the arc. Demetri McCamey led the way with 23 points, 17 coming at the line. His 17 free throws were a career high and tied the third-most in Illinois history, while his 21 attempts also were a career high and the fourth-most in school history. Brandon Paul added 15 points.

Close Games Going Illinois' Way
Illinois is 10-2 this season in games decided by single digits. Included in that total, the Orange and Blue are 6-2 in games decided by five points or less.

That is a welcome change from last season when Illinois could not get over the hump in a number of close contests, dropping eight games where the UI led, was tied, or trailed by one point in the final minute.

Illinois' six victories by five points or less tie the most in a season under Weber and the most since his 2006-07 squad also won six games by five or fewer. Following is a year-by-year look at the Illini in games decided by five points or less under Weber:

Season	Record
2011-12	6-2
2010-11	2-7
2009-10	5-6
2008-09	4-4
2007-08	4-6
2006-07	6-2
2005-06	4-4
2004-05	2-2
2003-04	4-1

Leonard Improving at Historical Level
Meyers Leonard is quickly earning a reputation as one of the top centers in the country. His progression has been rapid when comparing the numbers from his freshman year to this season. Leonard has increased his scoring average by 11 points and his rebounding average by 6.4 boards. Those figures rank among the biggest improvements in school history from one season to the next:

Best UI Scoring Improvement (Avg.)
1. Rick Schmidt, 1974 	+17.6 ppg (21.4-3.8)
2. Skip Thoren, 1964	+14.8 ppg (20.3-5.5)
3. Meyers Leonard, 2012	+11.0 ppg (13.1-2.1)

Best UI Rebounding Improvement (Avg.) 1. Skip Thoren, 1964 +8.0 rpg (13.8-5.8) 2. Meyers Leonard, 2012 +6.4 rpg (7.6-1.2) 3. Mike Davis, 2009 +6.3 rpg (8.1-1.8)

Assembly Hall: The House of 'Paign
Illinois owns an active 14-game winning-streak at the Assembly Hall.

The Illini also will carry a 15-game winning streak versus non-Big Ten opponents and a 26-game winning streak in the regular season against non-league foes into next season.

Illinois went 14-2 at the Assembly Hall last year, recording the team's best homecourt record in five seasons. The last time the Illini had fewer than two home losses was in 2006, the last of a seven-year run when the Illini either went undefeated or lost just one home game per season.

The Illini have put together one of the best homecourt records in the nation over the last 12-and-a-half seasons, owning a record of 166-25 at The Hall. The Illini also are 115-23 (.834) at The Hall during Bruce Weber's tenure. Below is a look at Illinois' record at the Assembly Hall since the beginning of the 1999-2000 season:

Year	Overall	Big Ten
2011-12	11-0	3-0
2010-11	14-2	7-2
2009-10	13-5	5-4
2008-09	14-3	7-2
2007-08	7-8	3-6
2006-07	14-3	6-2
2005-06	15-1    7-1
2004-05	15-0	8-0
2003-04	12-1	7-1
2002-03	14-0	7-0
2001-02	13-1	7-1
2000-01	12-0	8-0
1999-00	12-1	7-1
Total	166-25	82-20
HEADLINES