Game 21 Notes & Links: Illinois at Indiana
Jan. 24, 2014
Series Notes vs. Indiana
The last Illinois-Indiana match-up on Dec. 31 in Champaign featured the top two scoring performances thus far in Big Ten play, with Yogi Ferrell tallying 30 points and Rayvonte Rice registering a career-high 29.
Illinois has won seven of the last 10 games against Indiana, and 15 of the last 22 dating back to Feb. 25, 2003. Five of Illinois' seven losses to the Hoosiers over that span have been in Bloomington.
Indiana held a 73-62 lead in the series with Illinois through 1996. But the Illini have won 23 of 35 games spanning the last 18 seasons to tie it at 85-all entering Sunday's contest. Illinois is attempting to take the lead in the all-time series for the first time in 39 years, when Illinois held a 47-46 advantage over IU following the 1975 season.
Nnanna Egwu also found his touch against the Buckeyes. He reached double figures for the first time in 10 games, scoring 10 points on 5-of-9 shooting. This followed a four-game stretch where he totaled 10 points on combined 5-of-26 from the field.
Jon Ekey is averaging 9.7 points (29) and shooting 41.2 percent from 3-point range (7-17) over the last three games, after averaging 4.0 points the previous two games.
The Illini are 9-1 this season and 23-3 overall under Coach John Groce when reaching the 70-point marker.
Illinois is 3-0 this season in games decided by one or two points, and 8-0 overall under Groce.
Illinois has either led or been tied in the closing minutes in five of its seven losses.
Illinois has done a good job of taking care of the basketball, averaging just 10.2 turnovers per game (third in Big Ten, 19th in NCAA). Illinois' turnover rate of 15.7 percent ranks 36th nationally.
The Illini are allowing an average of 63.7 points per game this season (third in Big Ten, 36th in NCAA).
Only four opponents have exceeded 70 points against the Illini defense this year.
Illinois ranks 53rd nationally in defensive efficiency (97.2) and 33rd in defensive free throw rate (32.1).
The Illini rank fifth in the Big Ten and 74th nationally in offensive rebound percentage, collecting 34.9 percent of their misses on the year.
The UI starting five has clearly carried the scoring load, combining for 80 percent of Illinois' points on the season (1097 of 1372). That percentage ranks fifth nationally among teams from the major conferences.
Rayvonte Rice ranks sixth in the Big Ten in scoring with a 16.6-point average. He has reached double figures in all but two games this season.
Tracy Abrams had been the Illini's leading scorer in three straight games prior to Ohio State (nine points).
Abrams ranks fourth in the Big Ten with a 1.9 assist/turnover ratio during conference play.
Joseph Bertrand is shooting 45.2 percent from 3-point range this season (14-31) after entering his senior season as a career 31.3 percent shooter from behind the arc (20-64). Bertrand is shooting 55.2 percent on 2-pointers (69-125) this season, while Rice is shooting 50 percent on 2s (84-168).
Nnanna Egwu, the Big Ten's No. 3 shot blocker (60th in NCAA), has recorded at least two blocks in 16 games.
Egwu leads the Big Ten in offensive rebounding in conference play with an average of 3.1 rpg.
Freshman Kendrick Nunn is fifth on the team in scoring during Big Ten play, averaging 6.0 points. Nunn has registered 42 points in seven league contests after totaling 38 points in 13 non-conference games.
Coaches vs. Cancer Suits & Sneakers
Last Time Out: #17 Ohio State 62, Illini 55 (Jan. 23)
The Illini led 25-24 at halftime after holding the Buckeyes to 29 percent shooting on its home floor in the first half. With the Illini ahead by three, Ohio State went on a key 9-0 run to take a 40-34 lead with 12 minutes remaining. Illinois fought back to tie it at 46, then was within one possession twice in the last four minutes. With the Illini trailing 52-50, LaQuinton Ross converted a 3-point play, and following a UI turnover, Lenzelle Smith nailed a 3-pointer. That accounted for six unanswered by the Buckeyes and sealed the game.
Ohio State shot 54.2 percent in the second half as they outscored the Illini by eight points after intermission. Illinois had 15 turnovers, equaling its most on the season, and the Buckeyes turned those into 16 points. The Illini also were outscored by nine points from behind the arc as the hosts shot 8-of-19 while the Orange and Blue managed only 5-of-18.
Joseph Bertrand had a terrific game for the Illini, scoring a game-high 19 points on 7-of-10 shooting. Jon Ekey nailed a trio of 3-pointers to finish with 11 points, and Nnanna Egwu knocked down 5-of-9 shots en route to 10 points to go along with a game-high nine rebounds.
Recent Results Not the Norm for Groce
Looking Back at the Last Indiana Game:
Illinois 83, Indiana 80 (OT) // Dec. 31, 2013 at Champaign
2. Rayvonte Rice scored his most points as an Illini with 29, matching his career high from Drake (vs. Central Arkansas on 12/21/11). Rice hit a season-high 11-of-15 free throws, including the final two of the contest that sealed the three-point win.
3. Rice registered his sixth 20-point game of the season. He also had a team-high eight rebounds, leading the Orange and Blue on the glass for the fourth time this year.
4. Tracy Abrams turned in an efficient effort, hitting 8-of-12 from the field for 17 points.
5. The back-and-forth contest had 12 lead changes along with 17 ties, the most in an Illini game this season.
6. Illinois forced a season-high 23 turnovers, marking the most since forcing 24 turnovers against Northern Colorado on Dec. 12, 2010. UI notched a season-best 12 steals and posted a 25-11 advantage in points off turnovers.
7. Illinois outscored Indiana 32-12 in points in the paint, marking a season-high +20 advantage in the category.
A Look Back at the Last Indiana Game in Bloomington:
#23 Indiana 84, Illinois 71 // Feb. 9, 2012 at Bloomington
Illinois started strong behind Meyers Leonard's 15-first half points and trailed by just two at halftime. After the Hoosiers opened up an eight-point lead, the Illini cut it to three and nearly tied it on a D.J. Richardson 3-point attempt with 12:29 remaining. The bucket was waved off as Leonard was whistled for his fourth foul on a moving screen. The Hoosiers quickly extended the lead back to eight and the Illini could get no closer than six before the Hoosiers pulled away during the closing minutes.
Illinois committed 30 fouls that led to Indiana racking up 35 points on 42 attempts at the stripe. It marked the most free throws by an Illini opponent since Purdue knocked down 35 freebies on Jan. 9, 2002. Indiana shot 50 percent en route to its 84 points, the most allowed by the Illini defense on the season.
Richardson led the Illini with 19 points, Leonard finished with 17 and Brandon Paul added 13.
Five on the Starting Five