Men's Basketball
Game 24 Notes & Links: Illinois vs. #1/1 Indiana

 
Joseph Bertrand leads the Illini in FG% (.533)
Joseph Bertrand leads the Illini in FG% (.533)
 

Feb. 5, 2013

 Game 24: Illinois (15-8, 2-7) vs. #1/1 Indiana (20-2, 8-1)
 When Thursday, Feb. 7, 2013 | 6 p.m. CT
 Location Champaign, Ill. | Assembly Hall (16,618) | Fan Guide | Parking Map
 Tickets Buy Online or call 1-866-ILLINI-1 | Seating Chart
 Television ESPN | WatchESPN.com (Joe Tessitore, PBP & Sean Farnham, Analyst)
 Radio Illini Sports Network | Listen (All-Access) | Sirius 91 / XM 91
 Live Stats Gametracker | Mobile Stats
 Printable Game Notes Illinois | Indiana | Big Ten
 Season Stats Illinois | Indiana | Big Ten
 Preview Interviews Groce Presser | Brandon Paul | D.J. Richardson
 Social Media @IlliniHoops   |  #Illini   | Facebook | YouTube

 Illinois Probable Starters (from previous game)
Pos. No. Name Ht. Wt. Yr. PPG RPG APG Note
G 13 Tracy Abrams 6-1 185 So. 11.4 3.7 3.3 Scored double-figures in 8 of last 10
G 1 D.J. Richardson 6-3 195 Sr. 11.8 4.4 1.7 Had 19 pts & 5 threes vs. IU last year
G 2 Joseph Bertrand 6-6 195 r-Jr. 8.7 4.6 0.7 SH 17 pts (8-12 FG) Sunday vs. Wis.
F 0 Sam McLaurin 6-8 220 Gr. 4.0 3.6 0.5 Leads team in Off. Rebounds (55)
F/C 32 Nnanna Egwu 6-11 235 So. 6.6 4.8 0.6 Leads team in rebs. & blocks
 Off the Bench
Pos. No. Name Ht. Wt. Yr. PPG RPG APG Note
G 3 Brandon Paul 6-4 200 Sr. 17.4 4.6 2.9 Needs 30 pts for top 10 on UI scoring list
G 10 Mike LaTulip 6-0 165 Fr. 1.4 0.1 0.0 Walk-on has 19 pts in 33 mins
F 15 Mike Shaw 6-8 215 So. 1.0 0.6 0.2 Played season-high 19 mins at Wis.
G/F 20 Myke Henry 6-6 230 So. 3.4 2.0 0.1 Season-high 11 pts at MSU last Thurs.
G/F 21 Devin Langford 6-7 200 r-Fr. 0.6 0.9 0.2 4-9 field goals this season
F/C 23 Ibby Djimde 6-8 245 So. 0.0 0.1 0.0 15 minutes played this season
G 24 Rayvonte Rice 6-4 240 Jr. - - - Sitting out season due to transfer rules
G 31 Kevin Berardini 6-0 165 r-Jr. 0.7 0.3 0.3 5 points in 8 minutes played
F 42 Tyler Griffey 6-9 220 Sr. 6.7 3.1 0.6 Hit game-winning 3 vs. Gardner Webb

Coaching Staff
Head Coach: John Groce
Career Record: 100-64/.610 (5th year)
At Illinois: 15-8/.652 (1st year)
Big Ten: 2-7/.222
Assistant Coaches: Dustin Ford (1st year), Paris Parham (1st year), Jamall Walker (1st year)
Special Assistant to the Head Coach: Brandon Miller (1st year)
Director of Basketball Operations: Mark Morris (1st year)
Video Coordinator: Andy Etheridge (1st year)

Series Notes vs. Indiana
Series Record: Indiana leads 84-83
Series Streak: Indiana W-1
Record at Champaign: Illinois leads 49-31
Series Streak at Champaign: Illinois W-3
Last Year's Meeting: #23 Indiana 84, Illinois 71 (Feb. 9, 2012 at Bloomington)
Groce vs. Indiana: First Meeting

For Openers:
• Illinois faces a pair of ranked teams this week, hosting No. 1 Indiana on Thursday followed by a trip to No. 18 Minnesota on Sunday. This will wrap up a stretch of four top-20 ranked opponents in five games for the Illini.
• Illinois has won three straight at home vs. Indiana, and nine of the last 10 over the Hoosiers in Champaign.
• Illinois is aiming for its third victory of the season over a top-10 team, already owning wins over then-No. 10 Gonzaga and then-No. 8 Ohio State. Six different Illini teams in school history have beaten at least three top-10 opponents. The 2004-05 UI squad was the last to do so, earning victories over No. 1 Wake Forest, No. 9 Arizona and No. 4 Louisville.
• The Illini are one of seven teams who have defeated a total of three opponents featured in the current AP Top 25, tied with Michigan, Duke, Syracuse, Louisville, Butler and Cincinnati. The only school with more wins this season over teams ranked in this week's AP poll is Thursday's opponent, Indiana (4).
• Illinois, Arizona, Butler and Michigan State are the nation's only teams featuring two wins over teams in the current AP Top 10.
• Indiana is the seventh RPI Top 25 opponent that Illinois will face this season, the most of any team in the nation. Illinois is currently 3-3 vs. the RPI Top 25.
• Illinois looks to get back on the winning track at the Assembly Hall after dropping four straight home games for the first time since the 2007-08 season.

Taking on Number One
Illinois will face an opponent ranked atop the Associated Press poll for the 23rd time in school history on Thursday when the Illini host No. 1 Indiana. Illinois is 2-20 all-time against No. 1-ranked opponents with both victories occurring at the Assembly Hall. Lou Henson's fourth-ranked Illini defeated No. 1 Michigan State, 57-55, on Jan. 11, 1979 on an Eddie Johnson baseline jumper at the buzzer. And fifth-ranked Illinois rolled past No. 1 Wake Forest, 91-73, on Dec. 1, 2004, took over the No. 1 ranking the following week, and stood atop the polls for the remainder of the season en route to an appearance in the 2005 NCAA Championship game.

Quick Hits
• Sunday's game versus Wisconsin marked the first time this year that the Illini lost despite posting a better field goal percentage. Illinois is now 12-1 on the year when shooting better than its opponent.
• Illinois totaled 75 points last week at Michigan State, topping 70 for the 14th time on the season after doing so just 10 times in 32 games last year. But the Illini fell to the Spartans, marking just the second time this season that Illinois has lost when reaching the 70-point marker (12-2).
• Illinois has outscored its opponent in points off turnovers in 17 of 23 games. The Illini average 16.9 points per game off turnovers and own a margin of +5.4 points per game in that category on the season.
• A different player has led the Illini in scoring in each of the last four games.
• In his first start of the season Sunday vs. Wisconsin, Joseph Bertrand tallied a season-high 17 points - his ninth game reaching double figures - in a season's best 31 minutes of action. Bertrand's 17 points against the Badgers followed a stretch where he combined for 17 points over the previous four games.
D.J. Richardson has scored in double figures in six of the last seven games, averaging 14.7 points (103).
• Richardson has made a 3-pointer in all 23 games this season, and carries an active career-long streak of 29 straight games with at least one trey. He made a career-high six treys Jan. 22 at Nebraska.
Brandon Paul has scored at least 13 points in all but one game this season and has been the UI's leading scorer in 16 of 23 games.
Nnanna Egwu is averaging 8.5 points (34) and 7.0 rebounds (28) over the last four games. He scored 14 points Sunday vs. Wisconsin - the second-highest total of his career - and grabbed a career-high 10 boards each versus Nebraska (Jan. 22) and Michigan (Jan. 27).
Tracy Abrams has scored in double figures in each of the last three games and 8 of the last 10.
Sam McLaurin is averaging 5.8 points (29) and 4.2 rebounds (21) in the last five games as a starter after averaging 3.6 points (64) and 3.4 rebounds (62) in the first 18 games as a reserve.
• Illinois averages 76.6 points on 45.7 percent shooting and 37.1 percent 3-point shooting in its 15 wins, compared to averaging 63.6 points on 38 percent shooting and 23.9 percent 3-point shooting in its eight losses.

Last Time Out
Illinois played well enough offensively but had defensive breakdowns that led to Wisconsin earning a 74-68 victory in Champaign on Super Bowl Sunday. Wisconsin entered the game allowing an average of 52.9 points in Big Ten play, with only one conference opponent topping 60. The Illini surpassed those averages with 68 points, shooting 51 percent on 2-pointers (26-51) to offset a rough day from behind the arc (2-13). The Illini shot 54 percent in the second half alone, and had just nine turnovers on the day.

But Wisconsin also found a groove offensively, hitting nearly 56 percent in the second half. And for the second straight game, an Illini opponent went to the foul line with regularity. The Badgers had 42 free throw attempts on the afternoon, 31 coming in the second half alone off of 18 second-half UI fouls. Wisconsin scored 28 points at the line in its 42 attempts, setting season highs for an Illini opponent in both categories.

Illinois had a season-high five players score in double figures, led by Joseph Bertrand, who scored a season-high 17 points on 8-of-12 shooting with seven rebounds in his first start of the year. Nnanna Egwu had 14 points and seven boards, Brandon Paul finished with 13, and D.J. Richardson and Tracy Abrams added 10 apiece.

Second-Half Surge Lifts No. 13 Michigan State Past Illini - Jan. 31
Illinois played an outstanding first half of basketball in East Lansing and hung with the Spartans until the end, but a rough start to the second half was the difference as No. 13 Michigan State defeated the Illini, 80-75. The Illini excelled on both ends of the court in the opening 20 minutes, shooting nearly 50 percent and turning the ball over just one time. Illinois' active defense forced MSU into nine first-half turnovers, meanwhile, and the Illini converted those into 12 points in building a 37-27 lead at intermission.

But the Spartans charged out of the locker room and scored 14 unanswered points to take a 41-37 lead. Illinois had four turnovers during that four-minute stretch that saw MSU gain momentum. The Illini hung tough from there, cutting it to a one-possession game 10 separate times over the final 11 minutes. But the UI could not slow down the Spartans' offense enough to retake the lead. MSU made 14-of-16 shots after the break and went to the free throw line 32 times off of 19 second-half Illini fouls, scoring 23 points at the stripe.

Tracy Abrams led the Illini with 16 points, one of four Illini scoring in double figures. Abrams had a great all-around game, adding six assists, five rebounds and four steals. D.J. Richardson finished with 14 points, Brandon Paul added 13 and Myke Henry came off the bench to register a season-high 11 points in 21 minutes.

The Last Meeting
Illinois71
Indiana84
February 9, 2012
Bloomington, Ind.
Illinois Falls to No. 23 Indiana, 84-71
Cody Zeller scored 22 points and Victor Oladipo had 18 to lead No. 23 Indiana past Illinois 84-71 on Thursday night. The Hoosiers (19-6, 7-6 Big Ten) have won three of four. D.J. Richardson had 19 points and Meyers Leonard added 17 for Illinois (16-8, 5-6), which has lost five straight in Bloomington when the Hoosiers are ranked. The Illini also failed to take their first lead in the series since 1975. It wasn't easy. For nearly 19 minutes, neither team led by more than four points. Indiana broke through with an 8-0 run early in the second half to make it 54-46. Illinois closed to 57-55 with 10:58 to play, but Indiana pulled away with a 15-6 spurt. The Illini didn't get closer than 10 again.

Looking Back at Last Year's Indiana Game:

• #23/23 Indiana 84, Illinois 71 // Feb. 9, 2012 at Bloomington, Ind.
In a game that had 14 ties and six lead changes, Illinois was unable to overcome foul trouble and the Hoosiers' offensive production, both from the field and at the line. Illinois committed 30 fouls and had three players foul out. That led to Indiana racking up 35 points on 42 attempts at the stripe. And while Illinois shot 52 percent, Indiana shot 50 percent en route to its 84 points, the most allowed by the Illini defense on the season.

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. But the bucket was waved off as Leonard was whistled for his fourth foul on a moving screen and went to the bench. 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.

Richardson led the Illini with 19 points and made a season-high five 3-pointers. Leonard finished with 17 points and Brandon Paul added 13 with five assists.

Looking Back at the Last Home Game Versus Indiana:

• Illinois 72, Indiana 48 // March 5, 2011 at Champaign, Ill.
Illinois' seniors went out in style on 2011 Senior Day at the Assembly Hall in a 24-point victory over Indiana, the Hoosiers' largest defeat of the season. The Illini jumped out to a 16-7 lead six minutes in as Demetri McCamey and Mike Davis accounted for the UI's first 16 points, scoring eight apiece. The Orange and Blue never looked back, building the lead to as many as 23 points in the first half, and 29 midway through the second half.

Seniors McCamey, Davis, Mike Tisdale and Bill Cole combined for 50 of Illinois' 72 points, led by McCamey's game-high 22.

Five Key Facts On ...

Brandon Paul
1. Big Ten's No. 3 leading scorer with an average of 17.4 points.
2. Has scored at least 13 points in all but one game this season, with eight 20-plus point performances.
3. Second among Big Ten players in free throw makes (105), and attempts (146), behind Indiana's Cody Zeller.
4. Seventh among Big Ten players in 3-point field goals with an average of 2.2 makes per game.
5. Four off the team lead in rebounds (4.6 rpg), challenging to become the first UI player to lead the Illini in both scoring and rebounding in a single season since Shaun Pruitt in 2008.

D.J. Richardson
1. Second on the Illini in scoring with an average of 11.8 points.
2. Scored a career-high 30 points at Nebraska (Jan. 22).
3. Carries a career-long active streak of 29 straight games making at least one 3-pointer.
4. Sixth among Big Ten players in 3-point field goals this season with an average of 2.3 makes per game and is third in school history in career 3-point field goals with 248.
5. Has started 119 career games, fifth on the UI's all-time starts list.

Tracy Abrams
1. Third Illini scoring in double figures with an average of 11.4 points.
2. Has increased his scoring average by 7.1 points (4.3 last year).
3. Scored in double figures in eight of the last 10 games, led by career-high 27 points vs. Auburn (Dec. 29).
4. Shooting 50.7 percent on 2-pointers this season (75-148).
5. Leads the team in assists (3.3 apg).

Joseph Bertrand
1. Illini sixth-man is team's fourth-leading scorer, averaging 8.7 points.
2. Ranks seventh in the Big Ten in field goal shooting at 53.3 percent (80-150).
3. Scored in double figures nine times off the bench, led by season-high 17 points Sunday vs. Wisconsin.
4. Shooting nearly 36 percent from 3-point range, making 15-of-42, after going just 3-of-11 from behind the arc through his first two seasons.
5. Third on the team in rebounding (4.6 rpg).

Nnanna Egwu
1. Started all 23 games and is averaging 25.1 minutes after averaging 9.8 minutes last season.
2. Averaging 6.6 points and leads team with average of 4.8 rebounds, more than tripling his production over last season (1.9 ppg, 1.5 rpg).
3. Sixth in the Big Ten in blocked shots (1.4 bpg).
4. Scored 14 points Sunday vs. Wisconsin, the second-highest total of his career.
5. Grabbed career-best 10 boards at Nebraska (Jan. 22) and vs. Michigan (Jan. 27).

Sam McLaurin
1. Fifth-year transfer is playing nearly 21 minutes per game.
2. Averaging 5.8 points and 4.2 rebounds as a starter the last four games.
3. Leads team and ranks eighth in the Big Ten in offensive rebounds, averaging 2.4 per game.
4. Tied season high in scoring in three recent games with seven points apiece at Nebraska (Jan. 22), vs. Michigan (Jan. 27) and at Michigan State (Jan. 31).
5. Third on the team with 16 blocked shots.

Tyler Griffey
1. Fifth on the team in scoring, averaging 6.7 points.
2. Has exceeded his point total from all of last season.
3. Has made 24 threes this season after making a total of 16 treys in 32 games last year.
4. Grabbed season-high tying six rebounds vs. Northwestern (Jan. 17) and at Nebraska (Jan. 22).
5. More than half of his field goal attempts have been from 3-point range (73 of 134).

Three-Game Mini-Pack Now on Sale
Fans can help celebrate 50 years of the Assembly Hall by taking advantage of a special 50th anniversary mini-pack offer, which includes a ticket to the final three Illini home games this season - Feb. 13 vs. Purdue, Feb. 21 vs. Penn State, and March 2 vs. Nebraska - all for just $50. That is a 50 percent savings off the single-game ticket price. The $50 mini-pack ticket offer is available online at FightingIllini.com.

The March 2 game, which is exactly 50 years from the day the Assembly Hall opened its doors, will serve as a celebration of five memorable decades. It also will be the final home game for Illini seniors Tyler Griffey, Sam McLaurin, Brandon Paul and D.J. Richardson, who will be honored in senior day ceremonies before taking on the Cornhuskers.

Complete Illinois-Indiana Game Notes (PDF)

HEADLINES