Illinois Probable Starters (from previous game)
||Tied CH with 8 rebs vs. Bradley
||Scored at least 13 pts in every game
||Shooting 55.9% from field
||19 pts, 5-7 3FG vs. Bradley
||3.3 blocks per game leads B1G
Off the Bench
||Leads B1G with 5.7 assist/to radio
||Team-high 22 FTA
||8 points, 3 assists vs. Bradley
||Transfer must sit out 2013-14 season
||Transfer must sit out 2013-14 season
||Transfer must sit out 2013-14 season
Nov. 21, 2013
Head Coach: John Groce
Career Record: 112-69/.619 (5th year)
At Illinois: 27-13/.675 (2nd year)
Assistant Coaches: Dustin Ford (2nd year), Paris Parham (2nd year), Jamall Walker (2nd year)
Special Assistant to the Head Coach: Ryan Pedon (1st year)
Series Notes vs. Chicago State
Series Record: Illinois leads 10-0
Last Meeting: Illinois 90, Chicago State 43 (Nov. 27, 2011 at Champaign)
Series Streak: Illinois W-10
Record at Champaign: Illinois leads 10-0
Series Streak at Champaign: Illinois W-10
Groce vs. Chicago State: First meeting
The Last Meeting
November 27, 2011
Illinois Triumphs Over Chicago State, 90-43
Myke Henry scored 14 points and Illinois easily defeated Chicago State 90-43 on Sunday. Illinois (6-0) jumped to a 13-3 lead, and a 17-4 run at the end of the first half pushed the Illini's advantage to 44-19 at the break.
After opening the season with four games in nine days, 4-0 Illinois plays its lone game in an eight-day stretch, hosting 2-3 Chicago State on Friday night.
This is the last of a five-game home stand for the Illini to start the season.
Illinois is aiming for a 5-0 start for the third consecutive season.
Three current UI players were on the court the last time Illinois and Chicago State played. Nnanna Egwu (11 points), Joseph Bertrand (7) and Tracy Abrams (4) combined for 22 points on 9-of-14 shooting in the 90-43 Illini victory two years ago.
Two Illini have scored in double figures in all four games this season. Rayvonte Rice was the UI's leading scorer vs. Alabama State (22 points) and Valparaiso (18) and added 13 each vs. Jacksonville State and Bradley. Nnanna Egwu, meanwhile, has been consistent, totaling 10 points against each of the four opponents.
Getting it Done on D
Illinois' defensive consistency has been the catalyst behind its 4-0 start. The Illini are allowing an average of just 58 points per game on 34 percent shooting. No opponent has yet to score more than 63 points or shoot better than 36 percent against the Illini defense.
Owning the Boards
The Illini have outrebounded three of four opponents by double digits and show a rebound margin of +13.5 on the season, ranking second among Big Ten teams. Much of that work has been done on the offensive glass. Illinois is averaging an impressive 17.8 offensive boards - ranking first in the Big Ten - and converting an average of 15 points per game on second-chance opportunities.
Top of the League
Three Illini are at or near the top of the Big Ten in statistical categories. Freshman Jaylon Tate leads the league with an impressive 5.7 assist-to-turnover ratio. The rookie point guard has registered 17 assists compared to just three turnovers in 80 minutes of action.
Junior Nnanna Egwu is the conference's No. 2 shot blocker, averaging 3.3 per contest. Egwu was fourth in that category a year ago (1.4 bpg) and has picked up the pace this season, totaling 13 blocks through four games.
Senior Jon Ekey ranks third in the Big Ten in offensive rebounding. He has grabbed 15 offensive boards, an average of 3.8 per game.
Game 4 Notes - Illini 81, Bradley 55 (Nov. 17)
1. Illinois improved to 4-0 with the win, marking the third-straight season the Illini have started the season with at least four consecutive wins.
2. Illinois won its 26th straight non-conference game at State Farm Center, and extended its home court winning streak in regular-season non-conference games to 37 in a row.
3. Illinois is now 12-0 in November under head coach John Groce, and overall has won its last 23 games in the month of November.
4. The Illini trailed 2-0, just their second deficit of the season. The Bradley lead lasted for only 23 seconds, as the Illini tied it up at the 18:46 mark and never looked back. The Illini have now trailed for a total of just 3:18 in 160 minutes on the season.
5. Illinois held Bradley scoreless for nearly six minutes in the middle of a 15-2 first-half scoring run that turned a 9-8 UI lead into a 24-10 advantage. The Illini kept the lead at double-digits the rest of the way.
6. Illinois went 7-for-11 from 3-point range in the second half to finish the game shooting 40 percent from behind the arc (10-25) with a season-high 10 makes. The 10 treys were a welcome sight after the Illini combined to hit 13 three-pointers over the first three games.
7. Illinois dominated the rebounding battle, winning the battle of the boards 49-25 overall. The Illini also had 19 offensive boards, 10 more than Bradley. Illinois was +24 on the glass for the second time this season, having outrebounded Alabama State 52-28 in the season opener.
8. The Illinois tallied a season-high 19 assists, five more than its previous season high of 14 against both Jacksonville State and Alabama State.
9. Jon Ekey posted his first double-digit scoring game as an Illini, putting up a season-high 19 points and sinking 5-of-7 three-pointers.
10. Rayvonte Rice (13 points) and Nnanna Egwu (10) scored in double-figures for the fourth time in as many games this season.
11. Jaylon Tate tallied five assists and improved his season numbers to 17 assists with just three turnovers.
Game 3 Notes - Illini 64, Valparaiso 52 (Nov. 13)
1. Owning a two-point lead (49-47) with under five minutes left, Illinois finished the game by outscoring the Crusaders 15-5, led by a 13-1 run that made the score 62-48 with 37 seconds remaining.
2. UI overcame its third-lowest shooting performance (31.8 percent) under coach Groce thanks to stingy defense that held the Crusaders to just 32.7 percent (17-of-52) from the field.
3. Rayvonte Rice led the Orange and Blue in scoring for the second time in three games with a game-high 18 points.
4. Illinois won the rebounding battle 49-36, led by Jon Ekey, who grabbed a career-high 15 rebounds (8 offensive), marking the most by an Illini since Meyers Leonard had 16 boards vs. Cornell (Dec. 19, 2011). Ekey's previous career best at Illinois State was 13 rebounds, which he totaled twice.
5. Along with Rice, Joseph Bertrand (14 points) and Nnanna Egwu (10) reached double figures for the third game in a row, while Tracy Abrams (12 points) was the fourth Illini in double digits.
SEAL Team Training Brings Illini Together
With so many newcomers and roster turnover from a year ago, Coach Groce looked for ways to accelerate the team-building process with this year's squad. To help accomplish this, the Illini trained twice with SEAL Team Physical Training, led by former U.S. Navy SEAL John McGuire. The players, entire coaching staff, and even some support staff participated in the two sets of workouts, held from June 24-26 during summer classes and again from Sept. 3-6 at the start of the fall semester. The grueling, two-hour long training sessions included a number of physical activities such as races, push-ups, sit-ups, relays, swimming and rafting. The course was designed to enhance communication and foster team unity, mental toughness and togetherness.
Nunn Wears 25 to Honor Ben Wilson
The Illinois program has benefited from a recruiting pipeline to Simeon High School that began in the 1980s. This year's UI roster features two freshmen from the Chicago basketball powerhouse in guards Kendrick Nunn and Jaylon Tate.
Nunn is carrying on the tradition of former Simeon stars wearing the number 25 jersey at Illinois in memory of Ben Wilson, a prep basketball phenom who was shot and killed in 1984 before the start of his senior season. Nick Anderson was the first Fighting Illini player from Simeon to wear Wilson's 25 and the tradition continued with Deon Thomas, Bryant Notree and Calvin Brock prior to Nunn.
Complete Illinois-Chicago State Game Notes