Men's Basketball
Game 29 Notes & Links: Illinois at #7/7 Michigan

Myke Henry and the Illini have won five-straight.
Myke Henry and the Illini have won five-straight.

Feb. 22, 2013

 Game 29: Illinois (20-8, 7-7) at #7/7 Michigan (22-4, 9-4)
 When Sunday, Feb. 24, 2013 | Noon CT
 Location Ann Arbor, Mich. | Crisler Center (12,693)
 Tickets Buy Online or call 1-866-296-MTIX
 Television ESPN | (Bob Wischusen, PBP & Dan Dakich, analyst)
 Radio Illini Sports Network | Listen | Sirius 91 / XM 91
 Live Coverage GameTracker | UM Game Central
 Printable Game Notes Illinois | Michigan | Big Ten
 Season Stats Illinois | Michigan | Big Ten
 Social Media @IlliniHoops   |  #Illini   | Facebook | YouTube

 Illinois Probable Starters (from previous game)
Pos. No. Name Ht. Wt. Yr. PPG RPG APG Note
G 1 D.J. Richardson 6-3 195 Sr. 12.9 4.3 1.6 Averaging 17.3 ppg over last 9 games
G 3 Brandon Paul 6-4 200 Sr. 16.4 4.3 2.9 Needs 18 points for 9th on UI career list
G 2 Joseph Bertrand 6-6 195 r-Jr. 8.2 4.5 0.6 Leads team in rebounding (4.5 rpg)
F 0 Sam McLaurin 6-8 220 Gr. 4.4 3.5 0.5 Leads team & 8th in B1G in off. rebounds
F/C 32 Nnanna Egwu 6-11 235 So. 6.5 4.5 0.5 Leads team & 7th in B1G in blocks
 Off the Bench
Pos. No. Name Ht. Wt. Yr. PPG RPG APG Note
G 10 Mike LaTulip 6-0 165 Fr. 1.2 0.1 0.0 Walk-on has 19 pts in 38 mins
G 13 Tracy Abrams 6-1 185 So. 10.6 3.6 3.5 Scoring up 6.3 ppg from last season
F 15 Mike Shaw 6-8 215 So. 0.9 0.8 0.1 Played season-high 19 mins at Wis.
G/F 20 Myke Henry 6-6 230 So. 3.3 1.8 0.1 8 pts. in 14 mins. in win over Purdue
G/F 21 Devin Langford 6-7 200 r-Fr. 0.5 0.8 0.2 4-9 field goals this season
F/C 23 Ibby Djimde 6-8 245 So. 0.2 0.3 0.0 Scored first 2 pts of season at NW
G 24 Rayvonte Rice 6-4 240 Jr. - - - Sitting out season due to transfer rules
G 31 Kevin Berardini 6-0 165 r-Jr. 0.6 0.2 0.2 5 points in 12 minutes played
F 42 Tyler Griffey 6-9 220 Sr. 7.3 3.5 0.6 Has 2 game-winning shots this season

Coaching Staff
Head Coach: John Groce
Career Record: 105-64/.621 (5th year)
At Illinois: 20-8/.714 (1st year)
Big Ten: 7-7/.500
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. Michigan
Series Record: Illinois leads 85-75
Series Streak: Michigan W-4
Record at Ann Arbor: Michigan leads 48-29
Series Streak at Ann Arbor: Michigan W-1
Last Meeting:   #2/3 Michigan 74, Illinois 60 (Jan. 27 at Champaign)
Groce vs. Michigan at Illinois: 0-1
Groce vs. Michigan All-Time: 1-1

For Openers:
• Illinois wraps up Big Ten play with three out of its last four games on the road, beginning Sunday at No. 7 Michigan.

• Illinois has played 10 RPI Top 25 opponents this season - the most of any team in the nation - and will face its 11th on Sunday at Michigan. Illinois is currently 5-5 vs. the RPI Top 25.

• Illinois' five wins against the RPI Top 25 are tied with Michigan State for the second-highest total nationally, behind only Indiana (6).

• The Illini have defeated a total of four opponents featured in the current AP Top 25, tied with Kansas, Marquette and Michigan State for the second-most of any team in the country behind only Indiana (5).

• Illinois' win over Penn State on Thursday was its 20th of the season, securing the program's fourth 20-win season in the last five years, 12th in the last 14 years, and 30th all-time.

• Illinois exceeded its win total from last season (17) on Feb. 13. And with its seventh Big Ten victory Thursday over Penn State, the Illini have also surpassed last year's win total in conference play (6).

• Illinois has won five straight Big Ten games, its longest conference winning streak since also winning five in a row from Jan. 27-Feb. 9, 2010. The UI's last winning streak in Big Ten play longer than five games was its school-record 25 game mark from Jan. 31, 2004 through March 3, 2005.

• Illinois' active five-game winning streak is the longest in the Big Ten.

• Illinois is aiming for its fourth win this season over a top-10 team when facing No. 7 Michigan. Only two Illini teams have ever won at least four games over top 10-ranked foes, the 1989 squad (5) and the 2001 squad (4).

• Illinois defeated Minnesota (Feb. 10) and Northwestern (Feb. 17) in its most recent road games. The Illini are looking for their first three-game road winning streak in conference play since the 2010 season (Jan. 27 at Penn State, Feb. 3 at Iowa and Feb. 9 at No. 11 Wisconsin).

• After Penn State scored 59 points on Thursday, the Illini have now held their opponent to less than 60 points in each of the last four games, and six of seven conference wins this season (Ohio State-55, Nebraska-51, Minnesota-53, Purdue-59, Northwestern-41, Penn State-59).

• With the 64-59 victory over the Nittany Lions, the Illini improved to 6-1 on the season in games decided by five points or less.

• Illinois is 14-1 on the season when shooting better than its opponent.

• Illinois has exceeded 70 points 16 times this season after doing so just 10 times in 32 games last year. The Illini are 14-2 on the year when reaching the 70-point marker.

• Illinois has outscored its opponent in points off turnovers in 22 of 28 games. The Illini average 17.4 points off turnovers and own a margin of +5.6 points per game in that category on the season. This statistic has played a major role in two recent wins, as the Illini racked up 28 points off 14 Indiana turnovers on Feb. 7 and scored 24 points off 17 Purdue turnovers on Feb. 13.

• Illinois has four victories this season where it overcame double-digit deficits (16-at Hawaii, 11-at Gonzaga, 14-Indiana, 12-at Minnesota).

D.J. Richardson has scored in double figures in each of the last nine games - his career-long streak in Big Ten play - averaging 17.3 points over that stretch (156). Richardson has led the Illini in scoring in each of the last three games and four of five times during the UI's current winning streak.

D.J. Richardson has made a 3-pointer in all 28 games this season, and carries an active career-long streak of 34 straight games with at least one trey.

• While Brandon Paul leads the Illini in scoring on the season (16.4 ppg), D.J. Richardson is Illinois' leading scorer in conference play with an average of 14.9 points.

Tracy Abrams has totaled 23 assists with only eight turnovers during Illinois' current 5-game winning streak. • Sam McLaurin is shooting 55 percent from the field (22-40) during his 10 games in the starting lineup.

• With wins over No. 1 Indiana (Feb. 7) and No. 18 Minnesota (Feb. 10), the Illini defeated ranked conference foes in back-to-back games for the first time since the 2010 season; a 78-73 home win over No. 5 Michigan State (Feb. 6) followed by a 63-56 win at No. 11 Wisconsin (Feb. 9).

• Illinois' win over top-ranked Indiana was its third all-time over a No. 1-ranked team. The Illini's previous two victories over No. 1 came against Michigan State (Jan. 11, 1979) and Wake Forest (Dec. 1, 2004).

• Illinois' win over the No. 1 Hoosiers was its third victory of the season over a top-10 team, following wins over then-No. 10 Gonzaga and then-No. 8 Ohio State. This is the seventh different Illini team in school history to beat at least three top-10 opponents, and the first since the 2004-05 UI squad did so with victories over No. 1 Wake Forest, No. 9 Arizona and No. 4 Louisville.

• Illinois averages 74.2 points on 44.8 percent shooting and 36.5 percent 3-point shooting in its 20 wins, compared to averaging 63.6 points on 38 percent shooting and 23.9 percent 3-point shooting in its eight losses.

• Illinois is shooting 43.4 percent from the field and 35.8 percent from 3-point range in its 13 games away from home, an increase over the UI's 42.2 percent shooting from the field and 30.7 percent from 3-point range in its 15 games at Assembly Hall.

Defense is the Difference
Illinois has tightened the defense during its current five-game winning streak, a sharp contrast to the previous three games. Illinois has allowed an average of 56.3 points on 39 percent shooting over the last five games. The Illini are forcing an average of 14.8 turnovers and playing aggressively without fouling as often, as opponents are averaging just 14.8 free throw attempts.

Illini Turnaround Ranks Among Best
Illinois has started the second half of conference play with five consecutive wins. This is a drastic turnaround from the half-way point of the league race, when the Illini owned record of 2-7. Illinois has already totaled three more wins in the second half of the Big Ten season compared to the first, one of the best turnarounds in school history. In the modern era, only the 1988 Illinois team recorded a better win-improvement (+4) during the second half of league play than John Groce's inaugural Illini squad, which still has four games remaining.

The Last Meeting
January 27, 2013
Assembly Hall
Illini Defeated by No. 2 Michigan
Brandon Paul scored 15 points for the Illini in a 74-60 loss to No. 2 Michigan at Assembly Hall on Sunday.
Highlights | Box Score | Printable Box | Notes | Photo Gallery | Postgame Press Conference |

Looking Back at the Last Michigan Game:

• #2/3 Michigan 74, Illinois 60 // Jan. 27 at Champaign
Illinois battled with No. 2 Michigan, but just could not get enough shots to fall in dropping a 74-60 contest to the Wolverines at the Assembly Hall. The Illini shot 37.1 percent, going 23-of-62 from the field. Michigan, meanwhile, lived up to its billing as one of the nation's most efficient offensive team with 52.5 percent shooting. Illinois also was plagued by 15 turnovers which the Wolverines converted into 22 points.

Brandon Paul was one of three Illini to score in double figures, leading the way with 15 points. D.J. Richardson had another solid outing with 12 points and seven rebounds, and Tracy Abrams added 10 points. Nnanna Egwu, meanwhile, recorded a career high in rebounding for the second straight game, grabbing a game-high 10 boards.

Looking Back at the Last Road Game Versus Michigan:

• #22/25 Michigan 70, Illinois 61 // Feb. 12, 2012 at Ann Arbor
Illinois dropped a nine-point decision at No. 22 Michigan. The Illini scored seven of the game's first nine points but the Wolverines answered with a quick 10-1 run of its own to take the lead. With Meyers Leonard sidelined with two fouls for the majority of the first half, the Illini hung around thanks to the production of reserve Tyler Griffey, but Michigan's 56.5 shooting in the opening 20 minutes gave the hosts a six-point lead at the break. The Wolverines extended their lead to as many as 14 before the Illini cut it in half with a 7-0 run to pull within 58-51 with five minutes remaining. But the Illini could get no closer than seven the rest of the way as Michigan made 7-of-8 from the line to seal it.

Brandon Paul led the Illini with a game-high 21 points and Griffey had one of his best games as an Illini, scoring a career-high 18 points and grabbing five boards in 29 minutes of action. D.J. Richardson also scored in double figures with 12.

Five Key Facts On ...

Brandon Paul
1. Big Ten's No. 4 leading scorer with an average of 16.4 points.
2. Has scored at least 13 points in all but four games this season, with nine 20-plus point performances.
3. Second among Big Ten players in free throw makes (119), and attempts (169), behind Indiana's Cody Zeller.
4. Scored his 1,500th career point on Thursday vs. Penn State, becoming the 10th player in school history to reach that milestone.
5. Six off the team lead in rebounds (4.4 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. Leads the team in scoring during Big Ten play at 14.9 ppg (sixth in Big Ten).
2. Has scored in double figures in each of the last nine games, averaging 17.3 points over that stretch (156).
3. Carries a career-long active streak of 34 straight games making at least one 3-pointer, the longest by a player from a BCS conference.
4. Fourth among Big Ten players in 3-point field goals this season with an average of 2.4 makes per game and is third in school history in career 3-point field goals with 261.
5. Has started 124 career games, fourth on the UI's all-time starts list.

Tracy Abrams
1. Third Illini scoring in double figures with an average of 10.6 points.
2. Has increased his scoring average by 6.3 points (4.3 last year).
3. Leads the team and ranks ninth in the Big Ten in assists (3.5 apg).
4. Has combined for a total of 23 assists with only eight turnovers over the last five games.
5. Shooting 48.5 percent on 2-pointers this season (81-167).

Joseph Bertrand
1. Illini sixth-man is team's fourth-leading scorer, averaging 8.2 points.
2. Leads team in rebounding (4.5 rpg), led by career-high 12 boards vs. Purdue (Feb. 13).
3. Ranks seventh in the Big Ten in field goal shooting at 52.6 percent (91-173).
4. Scored in double figures nine times off the bench, led by season-high 17 points vs. Wisconsin (Feb. 3).
5. Shooting 34 percent from 3-point range, making 16-of-47, after going just 3-of-11 from behind the arc through his first two seasons combined.

Tyler Griffey
1. Fifth on the team in scoring, averaging a career-best 7.3 points.
2. Has made two game-winners at the buzzer at the Assembly Hall, a layup vs. Indiana (Feb. 7) and a three-pointer vs. Gardner-Webb (Nov. 25).
3. Averaging 10 points and (50) and five rebounds (25) over the last five games, scoring in double figures three times.
4. Scored a season-high 16 points at Minnesota (Feb. 10).
5. Grabbed season-high eight rebounds vs. Indiana (Feb. 7).

Nnanna Egwu
1. Started all 28 games and is averaging 24.4 minutes after averaging 9.8 minutes last season.
2. Averaging 6.5 points and ranks second on the team with average of 4.5 rebounds, more than tripling his production over last season (1.9 ppg, 1.5 rpg).
3. Seventh in the Big Ten in blocked shots (1.3 bpg).
4. Scored 14 points vs. Wisconsin (Feb. 3), 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 21.7 minutes per game.
2. Averaging 5.9 points (59) and 3.6 rebounds (36) and shooting 55 percent (22-40) as a starter the last 10 games.
3. Leads team and ranks eighth in the Big Ten in offensive rebounds, averaging 2.3 per game.
4. Scored season-high eight points vs. Purdue (Feb. 13).
5. Third on the team with 19 blocked shots.

Complete Illinois-Michigan Game Notes (PDF)