Rodney Alexander and the Illini host Purdue Saturday at 2:30 p.m. CT.
Feb. 1, 2008
Champaign, Ill. -
FIGHTING ILLINI BASKETBALL
Game #23: Illinois (10-12, 2-7) vs. Purdue (16-5, 7-1)
Feb. 2, 2008 2:30 p.m. CT BTN
Champaign, Ill. Assembly Hall (16,618)
On the Air
BTN: Matt Devlin, play-by-play; Shon Morris, expert analyst.
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, 9.9 ppg, 5.9 rpg, 1.4 apg)
F - 23 Rodney Alexander (Jr., 6-7, 225, 5.5 ppg, 3.3 rpg)
C - 55 Shaun Pruitt (Sr., 6-10, 245, 12.4 ppg, 7.6 rpg)
G - 1 Trent Meacham (r-Jr., 6-2, 195, 10.3 ppg, 2.3 rpg, 2.7 apg)
G - 3 Chester Frazier (Jr., 6-2, 190, 4.6 ppg, 5.0 rpg, 4.2 apg)
Off the Bench
G - 2 Chris Hicks (Sr., 6-2, 190, 0.2 ppg, 0.0 rpg)
G - 13 Jeff Jordan (Fr., 6-1, 185, 1.1 ppg, 0.4 rpg)
G - 22 Steve Holdren (r-Jr., 6-5, 200, 1.4 ppg, 0.9 rpg)
F - 24 Mike Davis (Fr., 6-9, 195, 2.4 ppg, 1.8 rpg)
G - 25 Calvin Brock (r-Jr., 6-5, 195, 7.6 ppg, 3.7 rpg, 1.5 apg, 1.1 spg)
F - 30 Bill Cole (Fr., 6-9, 210, 2.3 ppg, 1.4 rpg)
G - 32 Demetri McCamey (Fr., 6-3, 205, 6.2 ppg, 2.3 rpg, 2.8 apg)
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, 0.7 rpg)
C - 54 Mike Tisdale (Fr., 7-1, 215, 4.2 ppg, 1.7 rpg)
Illinois Head Coach Bruce Weber
Overall Record: 225-94/.705 (10th year)
At Illinois: 122-40/.753 (5th year)
Big Ten: 50-23/.685
Vs. Purdue: 4-3
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)
Purdue Head Coach: Matt Painter
Overall Record: 72-41/.637 (4th year)
At Purdue: 47-36/.566 (3rd year)
Vs. Illinois: 2-1
Series Notes: Purdue
Purdue leads the all-time series over Illinois 87-81, but the Illini own a 53-30 advantage in games played in Champaign.
The teams last met two weeks ago in West Lafayette. Illinois led for the game's first 27 minutes but a 20-3 second-half run by Purdue lifted the Boilers to a 74-67 victory. Brian Randle and Shaun Pruitt scored 15 points each while Trent Meacham added 11 to lead the Illini.
Illini Headlines ...
Illinois is averaging 72.5 points (145) on 53.5 percent shooting from the field (53-99) and 40 percent from 3-point range (14-35) over its last two home games (wins over Michigan and Northwestern).
In those home wins, Illinois held Michigan and Northwestern to a combined average of 47.0 points (94) on 33.7 percent shooting from the field (33-98) and 28.3 percent from 3-point land (13-46).
When including Saturday's game vs. Purdue, seven of Illinois' 10 conference games have been against teams in the top five of the current standings, with five of those seven games coming on the road.
Five of Illinois' next six games will be televised by the Big Ten Network.
Eight different players have been the Illini's leading scorer in a game this season (Brian Randle-7, Shaun Pruitt-6, Trent Meacham-5, Calvin Brock-3, Rodney Alexander-2, Mike Tisdale-2, Demetri McCamey-1, Chester Frazier-1).
Illinois has started six different lineups this season. The lineup at Michigan State on Wednesday of Frazier-Meacham-Alexander-Randle-Pruitt started together for the first time in 18 games (since Duke on Nov. 20).
Rodney Alexander is averaging 10.3 points (31) and 5.3 rebounds (16) over the last three games. He erupted for a career-high 20 points at Ohio State on Jan. 22 and also had a career-best 11 rebounds against the Buckeyes to record his first career double-double.
Demetri McCamey is averaging 10.8 points in Big Ten play at home (43), compared to an average of 5.6 points in conference play on the road (28). McCamey is shooting 48.5 percent from the floor (16-33) and 47.1 percent from 3-point range (8-17) at the Assembly Hall through four Big Ten games.
McCamey also owns an assist-to-turnover ratio of 4.5 in Big Ten home games (18 a/4 to).
Chester Frazier is averaging 7.0 rebounds in Big Ten home games, compared to an average of 2.0 boards in conference road games.
Trent Meacham scored in double figures in four straight games, the longest stretch of his career, until the streak was snapped at Michigan State (3 pts). Over that four-game stretch prior to Wednesday, he averaged 13.0 points (52) and shot 50 percent from 3-point range (13-26). Meacham had 11 vs. Michigan and at Purdue, 12 at Ohio State and 18 vs. Northwestern. His 18 points vs. the Wildcats marked his career-high in Big Ten play.
Brian Randle recorded three consecutive double-doubles against Michigan, Purdue and Ohio State. He had a career-high 19 points with 10 boards vs. Michigan, 15 points and a season-high 11 rebounds at Purdue, and 13 points and 10 rebounds at Ohio State.
Shaun Pruitt grabbed his 600th career rebound vs. Northwestern last Sunday. Pruitt is the Big Ten's second-leading active rebounder with 608 career boards, trailing only Indiana's D.J. White (618).
Chester Frazier has a 3.7 assist-to-turnover ratio over his last seven games (33 a/9 to).
Frazier leads the Big Ten with a 2.5 assist-to-turnover ratio in conference play.
Shaun Pruitt leads the Big Ten in offensive rebounds with an average of 3.4 per game (72 total off. reb.). He ranks fifth in the league in total rebounds (7.6 avg).
Pruitt and Randle combined for 38 points vs. Michigan on Jan. 16, equaling the senior duo's highest scoring total of the season. They also combined for 38 points vs. Miami (OH) on Dec. 20.
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 18 of the 21 games he has appeared in this season.
Illinois ranks fifth in the Big Ten and 30th in the NCAA in scoring defense, allowing an average of 60.7 points per game.
The Illini are fourth in the conference and 26th nationally in field goal percentage defense at 39.3 percent, and second in the league in 3-point field goal percentage defense at 30.7 percent.
Only five teams have scored more than 70 points against the Illini this year (last: Purdue on Jan. 19, 74 pts).
Illinois has not allowed an opponent to score 80 or more points in 48 consecutive games. The last team to do so was Arizona on Dec. 2, 2006 (84 points).
Illinois has only had three opponents this season shoot better than 46 percent from the field (last: Ohio State on Jan. 22, 54.8%).
Illinois has outrebounded its opponent in 16 of 22 games and ranks fourth in the Big Ten and 42nd in the NCAA in rebounding margin at +5.1 rpg.
Illinois' bench is contributing 21.0 points per game and has outscored the opposing bench in 15 of 22 games.
Illinois held Northwestern to a season-low 37 points on season-low 31 percent shooting last Sunday. It was the second straight meeting where the UI held NU to 37 points, as the Illini defeated the Wildcats 48-37 last year at the Assembly Hall. This marks the only two times in the last seven seasons that NU has been held under 40 points.
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 is Illinois' active career scoring leader with 891 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 17 points away from joining the Top 50 list of Illinois' all-time leading scorers (No. 50 Stephen Bardo - 908 pts).
There have been 55 consecutive sellout crowds at the Assembly Hall entering the next home game vs. Purdue on Saturday. The streak began on Dec. 6, 2004.
Illini Staff Participates in Coaches vs. Cancer Suits and Sneakers Awareness Weekend
Coach Weber and his assistants will be sporting Nikes on the sidelines this Saturday vs. Purdue, as college coaches across the country trade in dress shoes for sneakers for the Coaches vs. Cancer Awareness Weekend, held each season in February. The annual "Suits and Sneakers" event is designed to raise awareness about Coaches vs. Cancer and the American Cancer Society (ACS).
Coaches vs. Cancer is a collaboration between the ACS and the National Association of Basketball Coaches (NABC). Since 1993, Coaches vs. Cancer has raised more than $40 million for ACS.
Mannie Jackson Makes Gift to the University of Illinois' College of Applied Health Sciences
Fighting Illini legend Mannie Jackson and his wife, Cathy, along with their daughters Cassie and Candace, have made a gift of $2 million to the University of Illinois to create the Mannie L. Jackson Illinois Academic Enrichment and Leadership Program in the College of Applied Health Sciences.
The program provides first-generation students and those from under-represented groups with mentorship, academic skill development, career leadership training, and one-on-one support. It is designed to be individualized, comprehensive and academically integrated within the students' programs of study to help ensure completion of their degrees and the acquisition of skills for lifelong success.
Jackson, a 1960 Illinois graduate, is currently owner and chairman of the Harlem Globetrotters. The 1960 Illini team captain, he and his former teammate Govoner Vaughn were the first two African-American letterwinners on the UI basketball team.
A plaque honoring their achievements will be dedicated at the Assembly Hall on Saturday prior to the Purdue game.
Last Time Out: Michigan State
Illinois' defensive effort was outstanding but the offense came up short in a 51-41 loss at No. 8 Michigan State on Wednesday night. The Illini forced 20 turnovers and held the Spartans to 37 percent shooting on the night and no 3-pointers. But MSU's defense was just as strong, holding Illinois to season-low 30 percent shooting.
In a familiar script, the Illini played right with another ranked team for much of the game, leading by four at halftime time and owning a 32-31 advantage with 11 minutes remaining. But the Spartans reeled off seven unanswered points to regain the lead for good.
Oh So Close
In seven of its 12 losses, Illinois has either led, been tied or trailed by no more than three points with less than two minutes remaining ... Illinois has led during the second half in seven losses ... Eight of Illinois' losses have been by eight points or less ... Illinois is 3-8 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 18th. The Illini own the third-toughest SOS in the Big Ten behind Michigan (3) and Ohio State (9).
Illinois has faced seven opponents in the current top 50 of the RPI, trailing only Michigan (8) for the most games by a Big Ten team vs. the RPI top 50.
Illinois has also played the most difficult league schedule to date. Illinois plays its 10th Big Ten game Saturday. Seven of its first 10 games are against teams in the top five of the current standings, with five of those seven games coming on the road.
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 fifth in the Big Ten and 30th nationally in scoring defense with opponents averaging 60.7 points per game on the season. The Illini are fourth in the conference and 26th in the NCAA in field goal percentage defense (.393) and second in the conference in 3-point field goal percentage defense (.307).
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 three 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 25th in the NCAA in scoring, averaging 79.9 ppg. But Illinois held the Tigers to a season-low 58 points, over 21 points below its average, in a Braggin' Rights victory on Dec. 22.
Illinois held Indiana, the Big Ten's top scoring team and No. 48 in the NCAA, over 15 points below its season average on Jan. 13. The Hoosiers are averaging 77.1 points but scored just 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 16 of 22 opponents this year and owns a rebounding margin of +5.1 on the season, ranking 42nd in the NCAA. Illinois ranks fourth in the Big Ten in rebounding margin and is third in the conference in total rebounds, averaging 37.5 rpg.
*For complete set of Illinois men's basketball game notes, click on .pdf link at top of this page.