Fighting Illini Game Notes vs. Northwestern
Feb. 3, 2012
Game 23 Notes // Illinois (16-6, 5-4) vs. Northwestern (13-8, 3-6)Feb. 5, 2012 // 2 p.m. CT // Champaign, Ill. // Assembly Hall (16,618)
TV: BTN - Eric Collins (Play-By-Play), Shon Morris (Analyst)
Probable Starters (from the previous game)
Pos. No. Name Ht. Wt. Yr. PPG RPG APG Other G 13 Tracy Abrams 6-1 185 Fr. 2.8 2.5 1.6 19.2 mpg G 1 D.J. Richardson 6-3 195 Jr. 12.3 2.9 2.0 37.9 3FG% G 3 Brandon Paul 6-4 200 Jr. 14.8 5.1 3.0 1.6 spg G 2 Joseph Bertrand 6-5 195 r-So. 6.7 2.6 1.2 58.2 FG% C 12 Meyers Leonard 7-1 245 So. 13.0 8.0 1.3 2.1 bpg
Off the Bench
Pos. No. Name Ht. Wt. Yr. PPG RPG APG Other G 0 Sam Maniscalco 6-0 180 Gr. 7.9 2.3 2.6 82.1 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. 3.2 1.4 0.1 45.9 FG% G/F 21 Devin Langford 6-7 200 Fr. F/C 23 Ibby Djimde 6-8 250 Fr. 0.4 1.0 0.0 4.4 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. 2.0 1.7 0.2 50.0 FG% F 42 Tyler Griffey 6-8 230 Jr. 5.0 3.5 0.5 30 off. reb. G 44 Kevin Berardini 6-0 175 r-So. 0.0 0.0 0.0 4 minutes
Series Notes vs. Northwestern
Sunday's game will feature the Big Ten's top two scorers during league play. Illinois' Brandon Paul leads the conference, averaging 19.3 points. That ranks just ahead of Northwestern's John Shurna, who averages 19.3 points.
Illinois Basketball Honored Coaches Program Concludes With Mills, Jones
Representing Doug Mills in the banner ceremony will be his daughter Molly Mills. Representing Ralph Jones will be David and John Woods, the son and grandson, respectively of Ray Woods, and Sheryl Oilar, the great granddaughter of Ralf Woods. The Woods brothers were Illini All-Americans who played for Ralph Jones.
Illinois won nearly 70 percent of its games in 11 seasons under the direction of Doug Mills, compiling a 151-66 record from 1937-47. During that time, the Illini won three Big Ten Championships in 1937, 1942 and 1943. Mills coached the famed Whiz Kids, who were 12-0 during conference play in 1943 and went 17-1 overall before all five starters entered the armed forces.
Ralph Jones served eight seasons at Illinois from 1913-20, leading the Illini to a 71.4 percent winning percentage during his tenure (85-34). Jones guided the Illini to an undefeated season in 1915, as Illinois went a perfect 16-0 and was named national champion by the Helms Foundation. In addition to the 1915 Big Ten title, the Illini also won the conference in 1917.
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.
Super Bowl Prelude
Date Result Site Jan. 22, 1989 Illinois 103, Georgia Tech 92 (2OT) Assembly Hall Jan. 30, 1994 Illinois 88, Indiana 81 Assembly Hall Jan. 25, 1998 Illinois 64, Michigan 53 Assembly Hall Jan. 30, 2000 Michigan State 91, Illinois 66 East Lansing, Mich. Feb. 3, 2002 Michigan State 67, Illinois 61 Assembly Hall Feb. 6, 2005 Illinois 60, Indiana 47 Assembly Hall Feb. 1, 2009 Illinois 62, Iowa 54 Assembly Hall
Last Time Out
Michigan State entered the contest averaging nearly 74 points in league play and leading the conference in both field goal percentage and 3-point percentage. But the Illini defense held MSU to season lows in all three categories, as the Spartans managed just 24.1 percent from the field (14-58) and 21.4 percent from behind the arc (3-14) en route to its 41 points. MSU dominated the glass, grabbing 23 offensive rebounds and outrebounding Illinois 49-to-32. The Illini, however, matched the Spartans with 13 second-chance points.
The game was played within a one-possession margin the entire first half. The Illini jumped out to a six-point lead early in the second half and held a 35-29 advantage with 7:45 remaining. Michigan State then went on a 9-0 run to take a 38-35 lead with four minutes left. The Spartans still led by three when Tracy Abrams made the biggest shot of his young career, nailing a 3-pointer from the top of the key to tie it at 40 with 2:11 to go. Brandon Paul then hit two free throws with 45 seconds remaining for the eventual game winning points as the Illini defense stood strong in the closing seconds.
Paul was the only Illini to score in double figures, recording a game-high 18 points. Paul had a great all-around game, adding nine boards, five assists, two blocks and two steals.
Illinois' 42 points was its fewest in a win since defeating Notre Dame, 40-38, on Dec. 8, 1947, and fewest in a conference win since beating Wisconsin, 38-31, on Jan. 1, 1946.
The Illini improved to 5-5 in home games against Top-10 opponents under Coach Bruce Weber. Three of those wins have now been against Michigan State. The Illini previously defeated the No. 7-ranked Spartans at the Assembly Hall in 2006 and beat No. 5-ranked MSU at The Hall in 2010.
Taking Down Another Top-10 Foe
Teams With Two Wins Over Top-10 Ranked Opponents
Paul Stepping Up After Half
Close Games Becoming a Habit
Each of Illinois' last seven games has been decided by five points or less. That is the UI's longest streak in conference play in the modern era and its longest in 83 years, since the Illini had eight straight games decided by five or less during league play in 1929. It also is the nation's longest streak this season.
Overall, the Illini are 11-4 in games decided by single digits and 7-4 in games decided by five or less. That is a welcome change from last year 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.
Looking Back at the Last Northwestern Game:
Illinois 57, Northwestern 56 // Jan. 4 // Evanston
The victory completed an impressive comeback by the Illini, who trailed by 10 points with less than two minutes remaining in the first half. Illinois then went on a 16-2 run over the next five minutes to take a 42-38 lead. The Illini enjoyed its largest lead of the night at 55-47 with 1:43 remaining when the Wildcats made a late charge, outscoring the visitors 9-1 to tie the game at 56-all and set up the final plays by Henry and Leonard.
Illinois had three players score in double figures, led by Leonard's team-high 12 points. Joseph Bertrand and Brandon Paul added 10 apiece, while Bertrand and Leonard each grabbed a game-high eight rebounds. The Illini also got a huge contribution from freshman Nnanna Egwu, who scored nine points -- all in the first half.
Paul Tops Big Ten Scoring List
The last Illini player to lead the conference in scoring was Brian Cook during his senior season in 2003. Cook averaged exactly 20.0 points during league play, which also is the last time an Illini player averaged at least 20 points.
Five on the Starting Five