Illini Game Notes at No. 8/9 Ohio State
Feb. 20, 2012
The match-up with the eighth-ranked Buckeyes begins Illinois' stretch of three out of four games against ranked opponents to wrap up the regular season.
Illinois is trying to snap a five-game losing streak, its longest since dropping five straight from Dec. 30, 2007-Jan. 13, 2008.
Illinois is 3-3 against ranked teams this year, owning victories over No. 19 Gonzaga, No. 5 Ohio State and No. 9 Michigan State.
Illinois is looking for its first road win over a Top-25 opponent since defeating No. 11 Wisconsin, 63-56, on Feb. 9, 2010.
Probable Starters (from the previous game)
Pos. No. Name Ht. Wt. Yr. PPG RPG APG Other G 13 Tracy Abrams 6-1 185 Fr. 4.1 2.2 1.9 42.4 FG% G 1 D.J. Richardson 6-3 195 Jr. 12.1 3.0 1.9 36.5 3FG% G 2 Joseph Bertrand 6-5 195 r-So. 6.6 2.7 1.4 54.5 FG% F 42 Tyler Griffey 6-8 230 Jr. 5.2 3.3 0.5 33 off. reb. C 12 Meyers Leonard 7-1 245 So. 12.9 8.0 1.3 2.0 bpg
Off the Bench
Pos. No. Name Ht. Wt. Yr. PPG RPG APG Other G 0 Sam Maniscalco 6-0 180 Gr. 6.7 2.0 2.3 82.1 FT% G 3 Brandon Paul 6-4 200 Jr. 14.9 4.8 3.0 1.5 spg F 15 Mike Shaw 6-8 230 Fr. 1.0 2.2 0.2 7.8 mpg G/F 20 Myke Henry 6-6 230 Fr. 3.3 1.1 0.1 47.2 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 4.1 mpg G 25 Jean Selus 6-2 195 Sr. 0.0 0.1 0.1 7 minutes F/C 32 Nnanna Egwu 6-11 245 Fr. 1.7 1.7 0.2 10.0 mpg G 44 Kevin Berardini 6-0 175 r-So. 0.0 0.0 0.0 5 minutes
Series Notes vs. Ohio State
Two Illini Closing in on 1,000
Last Time Out
The Illini had trouble once again from 3-point range, making just 6-of-23. The Huskers, meanwhile, made 10-of-20 treys and shot nearly 56 percent overall. D.J. Richardson led the Illini with 15 points while Tracy Abrams scored in double figures for the second straight game, totaling 11.
Looking Back at the Last Ohio State Game:
Illinois 79, #5/5 Ohio State 74 // Jan. 10 at Champaign
The Illini trailed 48-37 early in the second half before going on a 9-0 run with baskets by four different players to cut the deficit to two. After the Buckeyes pushed the lead back to seven, Illinois then went on a 10-0 run to take a 57-54 lead with 10:49 remaining. Brandon Paul scored eight of 10 points during the UI surge. Ohio State would not go away, regaining a two-point lead with three minutes left. That's when Paul took over, scoring the final 15 points for the Illini on a pair of 3-pointers and nine free throws. After hitting two free throws to tie the game, Paul's first three during his run gave the Illini a 69-66 lead with 2:02 to go. Following two more free throws, his second trey - and school-record tying eighth of the game - came with the shot clock expiring and OSU defender Aaron Craft blanketing him, putting the Illini ahead 74-70 with just 43 seconds left. He then hit five-of-six from the line in the final 22 seconds to close out the win.
Paul scored a career-high 43 points on the night, the third-highest single-game total in school history and the most by a Big Ten player in a league game in 18 years. Paul did more than just score, however, adding a game-high eight rebounds and career-high four blocked shots to his totals. Joining Paul in double figures were Meyers Leonard (14 points) and D.J. Richardson and Joseph Bertrand (10 each).
Paul's 43-point performance vs. Ohio State
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.
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.
Leonard's Block Party
Taking Down Another Top-10 Foe
Teams With Multiple Wins Over Top-10 Ranked Opponents
Two Top-10 Big Ten Wins
Year Top 10 Wins Season Result 2012 No. 5 Ohio State, No. 9 Michigan State ? 1989 No. 6 Michigan, No. 3 Indiana, No. 8 Michigan Final Four 1952 No. 4 Indiana, No. 4 Iowa Final Four
Close Games Becoming a Habit
Delaware 14 Gardner-Webb 14 Illinois 13 Louisiana Tech 13 E. Michigan 13
Illinois recently had eight straight games decided by five points or less (Jan. 4-Feb. 5). That was the UI's longest streak of the modern era and its longest in 83 years, since the Illini also had eight straight games decided by five or less during Big Ten play in 1929. It also was the nation's longest streak this season.
Overall, the Illini are 11-7 in games decided by single digits and 7-6 in games decided by five or less. That is an improvement from last year when Illinois could not get over the hump in a number of close contests, winning only two games by five or less while dropping eight games where the UI led, was tied, or trailed by one point in the final minute.
Illinois' seven victories by five points or less are the most in a season under Weber, and the most since the 1998-99 Illini won eight in that fashion. Following is a year-by-year look at the Illini in games decided by five points or less under Weber:
Season Record 2011-12 7-6 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
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