Mike Davis and the Illini take on Kent State Friday at 5 p.m. at the South Padre Island Invitational.
Nov. 25, 2008
Champaign, Ill. -
FIGHTING ILLINI BASKETBALL
Game #5: Illinois (4-0) vs. Kent State (3-0)
South Padre Island Invitational
Nov. 28, 2008 // 5 p.m. CT // Fox College Sports Atlantic
South Padre Island, Texas // SPI Convention Center (2,000)
On the Air
FCS Atlantic: Kevin Eschenfelder, play-by-play; Reid Gettys, expert analyst.
Illini Sports Network-44 stations: Brian Barnhart, play-by-play; Jerry Hester, expert analyst; Loren Tate pregame/ halftime/postgame interviews.
Illini Probable Starters G - 32 Demetri McCamey So., 6-3, 205 13.8 ppg, 3.0 rpg, 4.8 apg, 1.3 spg G - 1 Trent Meacham r-Sr., 6-2, 195 14.0 ppg, 3.0 rpg, 2.0 apg G - 3 Chester Frazier Sr., 6-2, 195 7.3 ppg, 4.3 rpg, 6.5 apg F - 24 Mike Davis So., 6-9, 210 14.3 ppg, 9.3 rpg, 2.0 apg C - 54 Mike Tisdale So., 7-1, 235 7.0 ppg, 4.8 rpg
Off the Bench
G - 13 Jeff Jordan So., 6-1, 185 2.0 ppg, 0.5 rpg, 1.5 apg G - 15 Bubba Chisholm Jr., 5-11, 180 0.0 ppg, 0.0 rpg C - 21 Stan Simpson Fr., 6-9, 220 F - 23 Dominique Keller Jr., 6-7, 230 7.3 ppg, 3.5 rpg G - 25 Calvin Brock r-Sr., 6-5, 200 3.0 ppg, 1.8 rpg, 1.5 apg F - 30 Bill Cole So., 6-9, 215 1.3 ppg, 1.3 rpg G - 33 Alex Legion So., 6-5, 200 ineligible due to transfer rules F - 34 C.J. Jackson r-Jr., 6-8, 265 0.7 ppg, 0.3 rpg C - 50 Richard Semrau r-So., 6-10, 240 1.3 ppg, 3.3 rpg
Illinois Head Coach Bruce Weber
Overall Record: 235-101/.699 (11th year)
At Illinois: 132-47/.737 (6th year)
Big Ten: 53-29/.646
Vs. Kent State: 0-0
Assistant Coaches: Wayne McClain (8th year), Jay Price (6th year), Jerrance Howard (2nd year)
Assistant to the Head Coach: Gary Nottingham (6th year)
Director of Basketball Operations: Sean Harrington (1st year)
Trainer: Al Martindale (26th year at Illinois)
Kent State Head Coach: Geno Ford
Overall Record: 54-32/.628 (4th year)
At Kent State: 3-0/1.000 (1st year)
Vs. Illinois: 0-0
Series Notes: Kent State
This is the fourth meeting all-time between Illinois and Kent State, and the first in 29 years. Illinois won the three previous match-ups, 73-54 on Dec. 1, 1975 (Champaign), 82-44 on Dec. 16, 1978 (Kent) and 74-65 on Dec. 6, 1979 (Champaign).
Illinois' current 4-game winning streak equals the longest streak the UI had at any point during the 2007-08 season. Last March, the Illini recorded four straight wins: Minnesota on Senior Day at the Assembly Hall, followed by Penn State, Purdue and Minnesota in the Big Ten Tournament.
Illinois has now won eight of its last nine games dating back to the end of last season.
TV Information for South Padre Island Invitational
Friday's semifinal games between Illinois-Kent State (5 pm) and Texas A&M-Tulsa (7:30 pm) will both be televised by Fox College Sports Atlantic. That same network also will televise Saturday's championship game (7:30 pm). Fox College Sports (FCS) has three regionally aligned, nationally distributed channels: Atlantic, Central and Pacific. The network is available on digital cable through the sports package. FCS also is available on DirecTV, at channel 617.
Illini Return to South Padre
Illinois heads to South Padre Island with a 2-0 record in the SPI Invitational following home wins over Texas A&M-Corpus Christi and Jackson State.
This year marks Illinois' second appearance in the South Padre Island Invitational. The Illini won the tournament in November 2005 with victories over Texas-Pan American, Texas Southern, Wichita State in the semifinal and Rutgers in the championship.
Last Time Out: Jackson State
Great ball movement and hot shooting helped propel the Illini to a 78-64 victory over Jackson State on Sunday afternoon at the Assembly Hall. Leading 34-30 with less than four minutes left in the first half, Illinois closed it with a 10-0 run to take a 14-point lead into halftime. After Jackson State pulled to within eight points, the Illini then went on a decisive 22-4 run to jump out to a 70-44 lead with under eight minutes remaining.
Illinois shot a blistering 62 percent on the day, hitting 31-of-50 from the floor. The Illini also recorded a season-high 25 assists.
Mike Davis led all scorers, tying his career high with 20 points on 9-of-10 shooting. Dominique Keller was 8-for-8 from the field en route to a career-high 16 points, while Trent Meacham also finished in double figures with 10 points.
Illini Stand Alone With Win
With the victory last Thursday at Vanderbilt, Illinois is the only team from a BCS conference (ACC/Big East/Big Ten/Big 12/Pac-10/SEC) that has won on the road against a BCS team so far this season.
Davis Off to Great Start
Sophomore forward Mike Davis has been very productive to start the season, nearly averaging a double-double. Davis leads the Illini in scoring at 14.3 points per game and leads the Big Ten in rebounding, averaging 9.3 boards.
Davis has posted double-doubles twice in four games. He notched career highs of 20 points and 14 rebounds vs. Texas A&M-Corpus Christi (Nov. 16) and had 11 points and a game-high 12 rebounds at Vanderbilt (Nov. 20).
He most recently tied his career high in scoring with another 20-point outing vs. Jackson State on Sunday, hitting 9-of-10 shots. Davis also recorded a career-high five assists vs. the Tigers.
Meacham Comfortable With New 3-Point Line
It will be a while before the NCAA releases its first national statistical rankings, but it's doubtful that there are many players shooting it better from 3-point range so far than Illini senior Trent Meacham. Meacham is 12-for-19 from behind the arc on the young season, a torrid 63.2 percent.
Meacham made 3-of-4 threes in the opener vs. Eastern Washington, 3-of-5 vs. Texas A&M-Corpus Christi, 4-of-6 at Vanderbilt, and 2-4 vs. Jackson State.
Meacham has scored in double figures in all four games, highlighted by a season-high 18 vs. Eastern Washington. He ranks second on the Illini in scoring on the year, averaging 14.0 points.
McCamey Also Hitting from Deep
Sophomore Demetri McCamey ranks third on the team in scoring, averaging 13.8 points, and is shooting 41.7 percent from 3-point range (10-24). McCamey has reached double figures in three of four games, led by a season-high 23 points at Vanderbilt (Nov. 20).
Along with his scoring, McCamey is second on the team in assists (4.8 apg) and leads the Illini with five steals.
Frazier In Control
Chester Frazier is off to a solid start to his senior season. Frazier leads the Big Ten in assists, registering 26 assists over the first four games for an average of 6.5 apg. And despite playing nearly 30 minutes per game, Frazier has totaled just five turnovers on the year, an excellent assist-to-turnover ratio of 5.2.
Assisting The Offense
Illinois' ball movement has been very effective to start the season. The Illini are averaging 19.8 assists per game, which leads the Big Ten, and have recorded assists on 74.5 percent of its baskets (79 assists on 106 field goals). Illinois recorded 25 assists vs. Jackson State on Sunday, its highest total since totaling 26 vs. IUPUI on Dec. 6, 2006. Here is a game-by-game look at Illinois' assists-to-field goals percentages this season:
Game A FG Pct. E. Washington 14 24 58.3 Texas A&M-CC 22 27 81.5 Vanderbilt 18 24 75 Jackson State 25 31 80.6 Total 79 106 74.5
Crashing the Boards
After losing its top two rebounders from last season in Shaun Pruitt and Brian Randle, rebounding was an area of concern for this year's squad. It has been a point of emphasis in every practice and the Illini are responding in games. Illinois has outrebounded three of four opponents and ranks third in the Big Ten in rebounding (37.5 rpg) and rebounding margin (+5.5 rpg). The Illini also rank second in the Big Ten in offensive rebounding, averaging 12.5 per game on the offensive glass.
Converting at the Line
Illinois' struggles from the free throw line last season were well documented. This year's squad is hoping to convert more opportunities from the line, which in turn will help the squad in finishing close games. Illinois is off to a great start, shooting 77 percent from the charity stripe to rank third in the Big Ten. The Illini were 13-of-16 from the foul line against Texas A&M-Corpus Christi (81.3 percent), tied a school record by shooting 100 percent from the line at Vanderbilt, making all 11 attempts, and were 10-of-13 vs. Jackson State.
Illinois recently made 21 consecutive free throws over a three-game stretch, spanning 77:01. The streak began with the final two free throws vs. Texas A&M-Corpus Christi, continued with all 11 attempts vs. Vanderbilt, and extended to the first eight foul shots vs. Jackson State.
Notes From Jackson State
The Illini shot 62 percent (31-50), the highest percentage since shooting 63.6 percent (35-55) vs. Delaware State on Nov. 19, 2004.
Illinois recorded 25 assists, its highest total since totaling 26 vs. IUPUI on Dec. 6, 2006.
Mike Davis tied his career high with 20 points, while Dominique Keller also posted a career-high, scoring 16 points. The duo combined to make 17-of-18 shots on the day (Davis, 9-of-10; Keller, 8-of-8).
In addition to his 20 points, Davis also had a career-high five assists.
For complete set of Illinois men's basketball game notes, click on .pdf link at top of this page.