Warren Carter and the Illini take on Arizona on Saturday at 4 p.m. CT in the Basketball Hall of Fame Challenge. The game will be televised nationally on ESPN.
Nov. 30, 2006
Champaign, Ill. -
FIGHTING ILLINI BASKETBALL
Basketball Hall of Fame Challenge Phoenix, Ariz. U.S. Airways Center (18,422)
Game #8: Illinois (7-1) vs. #16 Arizona (4-1)
Dec. 2, 2006 4 p.m. CT / 3 p.m. MT ESPN
On the Air
ESPN: Dave O'Brien, play-by; Jay Bilas and Bill Raftery, expert analysts; Allen Hopkins, sideline reporter.
Illini Sports Network - 47 stations: Brian Barnhart, play-by-play; Jerry Hester, expert analyst; Loren Tate pregame/halftime/ postgame interviews.
Illini Probable Starters
F - 41 Warren Carter (Sr., 6-9, 220, 11.6 ppg, 6.5 rpg, 1.4 apg, 1.5 bpg)
C - 55 Shaun Pruitt (Jr., 6-10, 245, 12.8 ppg, 7.5 rpg)
G - 25 Calvin Brock (r-So., 6-5, 195, 10.9 ppg, 4.9 rpg, 1.9 apg)
G - 33 Rich McBride (Sr., 6-3, 205, 9.3 ppg, 3.3 rpg, 2.8 apg)
G - 3 Chester Frazier (So., 6-2, 190, 10.4 ppg, 4.4 rpg, 6.8 apg, 1.6 spg)
Off the Bench
G - 1 Trent Meacham (r-So., 6-2, 195, 10.0 ppg, 1.0 rpg, 2.5 apg)
G - 2 Chris Hicks (Jr., 6-2, 190, 1.0 ppg, 0.3 rpg)
C - 21 Brian Carlwell (Fr., 6-11, 265, 3.5 ppg, 2.0 rpg)
G - 31 Jamar Smith (So., 6-3, 185, 11.0 ppg, 1.7 rpg, 1.7 apg)
F - 34 C.J. Jackson (r-Fr., 6-8, 260, 2.0 ppg, 2.6 rpg)
F - 42 Brian Randle (r-Jr, 6-8, 220, 7.0 ppg, 0.0 rpg)
F - 44 Marcus Arnold (r-Sr., 6-8, 245, 2.0 ppg, 2.5 rpg)
F - 50 Richard Semrau (Fr., 6-9, 230, 3.6 ppg, 2.2 rpg)
Illinois Head Coach Bruce Weber
Overall Record: 199-71/.737 (9th year)
At Illinois: 96-17/.850 (4th year)
Big Ten: 39-9/.813
Vs. Arizona: 1-0
Assistant Coaches: Wayne McClain (6th year), Jay Price (4th year), Tracy Webster (3rd year)
Assistant to the Head Coach: Gary Nottingham (4th year)
Trainer: Al Martindale (24th year at Illinois)
Arizona Head Coach: Lute Olson
Overall Record: 765-270/.739 (34th year)
At Arizona: 573-178/.763 (24th year)
Vs. Illinois All-Time: 17-8
Assistant Coaches: Jim Rosborough, Josh Pastner, Miles Simon
Series Notes: Arizona
This is the 13th meeting between Illinois and Arizona, with the all-time series tied 6-6. It is the first match-up between the schools since the Illini's thrilling 90-89 overtime win over the Wildcats on March 26, 2005 in the NCAA Chicago Regional Final at the Allstate Arena in Rosemont, a victory that sent Illinois to St. Louis for the Final Four.
This marks the second meeting between the programs in Phoenix, with Arizona previously defeating Illinois 87-82 on Dec. 4, 2001. The teams met three times during the 2000-01 season, with Illinois winning 81-73 at Chicago's United Center (Dec. 16, 2000) and Arizona winning 87-81 in the NCAA Midwest Regional Final at the Alamodome in San Antonio (March 25, 2001) and 79-76 in the Maui Invitational Championship (Nov. 22, 2000).
Weber Goes for 200th Win
Bruce Weber is aiming for his 200th career coaching victory. Now in his ninth season as a head coach, Weber enters the Arizona game with a career record of 199-71. He totaled 192 wins entering this season, which ranked as the third most wins in NCAA history by a coach after his first eight seasons.
A Look Back at the Last Illinois-Arizona Game: Illini Comeback One for the Ages
Illinois' thrilling come-from-behind win over Arizona in the 2005 NCAA Chicago Regional Final wasn't the largest comeback win in school history - that would be a 21-point deficit (42-21) against Seton Hall on Dec. 9, 2000 that turned into an 87-79 Illini win - but it was surely was the most significant, with a trip to the Final Four and Illinois' winningest season in school history on the line. The 2004-05 Illini, which entered the Arizona game on March 26, 2005 at the Allstate Arena in Rosemont having trailed in the second half just five times in 36 games and had never trailed by double figures at any point in the season, found themselves behind by 15 points, 75-60 with four minutes left. But what followed was an Orange and Blue blur, an amazing 20-5 run to tie the game and send it to overtime at 80-all. Below is the play-by-play recap of how the Illini fought back to tie the game:
3:50 - Deron Williams 3-pointer (63-75) 3:26 - Two free throws by UA's Jawann McClellan (63-77) 3:14 - Luther Head 3-pointer (66-77) 2:43 - Dee Brown offensive rebound basket (68-77) 1:18 - Luther Head steal and layup (70-77) 1:15 - One of two free throws by UA's Jawann McClellan (70-78) 1:08 - Deron Williams layup (72-78) 1:03 - Two free throws by UA's Mustafa Shakur (72-80) 0:54 - Luther Head 3-pointer (75-80) 0:45 - Dee Brown steal and layup (77-80) 0:39 - Jack Ingram steal and Deron Williams 3-pointer (80-80)
Illinois then took over in overtime, jumping out to a 90-84 lead after a layup by Roger Powell, a 3-pointer by Williams and steal and layup by Head. The Wildcats later cut it to one and had the game's final possession, but Williams played solid defensive on Hassan Addams, who was forced to throw up a contested 3-pointer at the buzzer that missed.
Returning Players from Last UI-UA Meeting
Illinois returns just two players who saw action in the Illinois-Arizona 2005 Elite Eight game. Rich McBride played eight minutes, hitting a 3-pointer and grabbing one rebound, while Warren Carter played three minutes, making two free throws and collecting two boards.
Arizona, meanwhile, returns four players who appeared in the game. Ivan Radenovic had 13 points, five rebounds and four steals in 29 minutes, Mustafa Shakur had 12 points and four assists in 37 minutes, Jawann McClellan had 10 points and four rebounds in 24 minutes and Kirk Walters played one minute.
Pair of Illini Streaks Ended
The Illini had two streaks that led the nation come to an end in Tuesday's loss to Maryland. Illinois had its 40-game regular season non-conference winning streak halted as well as its 51-game non-conference homecourt winning streak. Prior to Tuesday's defeat, the last time the Illini lost a regular season non-conference game was on Dec. 9, 2003 (Providence), a span of three-plus seasons. Meanwhile, the last time Illinois lost a non-conference game at the Assembly Hall prior to Tuesday was on Nov. 17, 1998 (George Washington), a span of eight-plus seasons.
Last Time Out: Maryland
Illinois had its 51-game non-conference winning streak at the Assembly Hall halted on Tuesday, falling to No. 23 Maryland by the score of 72-66 in the eighth annual ACC/Big Ten Challenge. Illinois fell behind early for the fifth time this season, and for the first time, the Illini were unable to stage a come-from-behind victory.
Maryland led by as many as 15 points in the first half at 29-14 with seven-and-a-half minutes remaining. The Illini cut the lead to five by halftime and then pulled ahead midway through the second half. Illinois led 48-43, but Maryland tied it at 55 with five minutes remaining. That's when the Terps pulled away away for the victory, outscoring the Illini 17-11 down the stretch.
The Illini big men led the way against Maryland as Shaun Pruitt and Warren Carter each recorded double-doubles. Pruitt totaled career highs of 18 points and 11 rebounds while Carter scored 13 and added 11 boards. Calvin Brock also reached double figures with 11 points.
Illini Take Chicago Invitational Challenge Title
Illinois fought back from a pair of deficits over the weekend to win the Chicago Invitational Challenge championship.
Illinois trailed Miami (OH) on Friday by as many as 16 points in the first half before it began to chip away. The Illini still trailed by nine with 10 minutes left when the defense took over, holding Miami to just one basket over the final 10 minutes. With the Illini trailing by one, Chester Frazier drove the lane with 18 seconds left and scored a left-handed layup over two defenders for the game-winner. Shaun Pruitt had a double-double vs. Miami with 12 points and 10 boards.
The Illini fought back from another double-digit deficit vs. Bradley on Saturday. Trailing by as many as 11 in the first half and still down by nine with 15 minutes left, Illinois once again rallied. The UI went on a key 8-0 run late in the game, sparked by a 3-pointer from Jamar Smith that gave Illinois a 58-57 lead, its first lead since 6-5. Warren Carter scored a career-high 17 points while Shaun Pruitt just missed a third straight double-double with 16 points and nine boards. Chester Frazier also posted a double-double with 10 points and a career-high 11 assists.
Frazier was named MVP of the Chicago Invitational Challenge while Pruitt and Carter were named to the All-Tournament Team.
Illini By the Numbers Under Weber
Illinois has been a consistent winner under Bruce Weber, a tenure that spans the most successful period in school history. The following is a breakdown of Illinois' success under Weber:
96-17: Illinois' overall record under Weber, a winning percentage of .850.
47-3: Illinois' record at the Assembly Hall under Weber, a winning percentage of .940.
37-2: Illinois' record in 2004-05, which tied the record for the winningest season in NCAA history.
26-7: Illinois' record last season as well as Weber's first season (2003-04), which tie the fourth-winningest season in school history.
39-9: Illinois' record in Big Ten play under Weber - which incudes back-to-back outright championships in 2004 and 2005 - a winning percentage of .813.
83-12: Illinois' record in regular season games under Weber, a winning percentage of .874.
44-3: Illinois' record in regular season non-conference games under Weber, a winning percentage of .936.
20-7: Illinois' record in road games under Weber, a winning percentage of .741.
28-6: Illinois' record in neutral-site games under Weber, a winning percentage of .824.
8-3: Illinois' NCAA Tournament record under Weber - which includes a trip to the Sweet 16 in 2004 and the program's first-ever appearance in the national championship game in 2005 - a winning percentage of .727.
5-2: Illinois' Big Ten Tournament record under Weber - which includes the 2005 tournament title - a winning percentage of .714.
13-5: Illinois' combined postseason record under Weber, a winning percentage of .722.
Illinois has fought back from five first-half deficits of at least eight points through the first eight games, including four double-digit deficits. The Illini have gone on to record come-from-behind wins in four of those five games:
Opponent Deficit Score Time (1st) Result Final Score Jackson St. 14 18-4 14:26 W 76-55 Florida A&M 8 30-22 5:17 W 84-63 Miami (OH) 16 27-11 5:23 W 51-49 Bradley 11 34-23 3:53 W 75-71 Maryland 15 29-14 7:26 L 72-66
Randle Out Following Surgery
Starting forward Brian Randle will miss 2-4 more weeks after having surgery on Nov. 17 in Philadelphia to repair a damaged muscle in the groin/abdominal area.
Frazier On Point
Chester Frazier has taken over the reins at point guard following the graduation of Dee Brown. The sophomore from Baltimore has been very productive in all facets of the game. He is averaging 10.4 points and leads the Big Ten with an average of 6.8 assists. He is also fourth on the Illini with an average of 4.4 rebounds and leads the team in steals, averaging 1.6 spg (sixth in Big Ten).
Frazier has scored in double figures in six of the last seven games, led by a career-high 17 points vs. Savannah State on Nov. 21. He recorded his first career double-double vs. Florida A&M on Nov. 19 with 13 points and 10 assists.
Frazier had 10 points vs. Miami (OH) on Nov. 24, hitting a game-winning layup with 18 seconds left. He then recorded his second double-double vs. Bradley on Nov. 25 with 10 points and a career-high 11 assists. His 11 assists vs. BU are tied for the most by a Big Ten player this season. Following his play last weekend, Frazier was named MVP of the Chicago Invitational Challenge.
While continuing to rack up the assists, Frazier has also done a good job cutting down on his turnovers lately. After totaling 13 turnovers in the first two games, he has combined for just 13 turnovers over the past six games. He had only one turnover in 35 minutes vs. Bradley compared to 11 assists, and had just one turnover again vs. Maryland on Tuesday. Frazier's assist-to-turnover ratio the past six games is 2.85 (37 assists/13 turnovers).
Pruitt A Consistent Contributor
Shaun Pruitt started every game last season and is once again the Illini's starting center this year. He has scored in double figures in seven of eight games, leading the Illini in scoring with an average of 12.8 points on the season. Pruitt had 15 points on 7-9 shooting vs. Jackson State (Nov. 15) and recorded the first double-double of his career with 10 points and 10 rebounds vs. Savannah State (Nov. 21).
He earned Chicago Invitational Challenge All-Tournament Team honors after posting a double-double with 12 points and 10 boards vs. Miami (OH) on Nov. 24 followed by 16 points and nine rebounds in a career-best 31 minutes vs. Bradley on Nov. 25.
Pruitt was at his best vs. Maryland on Tuesday, scoring a career-high 18 points on 7-12 shooting. He tallied his third double-double of the season against the Terrapins, collecting a career-high 11 rebounds in addition to his 18 points.
Pruitt leads the Illini and ranks third in the Big Ten in rebounding with an average of 7.5 boards and has been an efficient scorer, shooting 60.6 percent from the field (43-71) to rank fourth in the Big Ten.
Brock Stepping Up
Sophomore Calvin Brock has made the most of his opportunity in the Illini lineup. With Brian Randle unavailable, Brock has started the past seven games. He totaled 14 points on 6-9 shooting and six rebounds vs. Jackson State (Nov. 15), had 17 points on 7-11 shooting vs. Georgia Southern (Nov. 17), and tallied the first double-double of his career vs. Florida A&M (Nov. 19) with career highs of 18 points and 10 rebounds along with a career-best seven assists. After scoring eight vs. Bradley (Nov. 25), Brock was back in double figures with 11 points vs. Maryland on Tuesday.
Brock is fourth on the team in scoring, averaging 10.9 points and is shooting 54.5 percent from the floor (36-66) and 47.1 percent from 3-point range (8-17) on the year.
Carter Aiming High As A Senior
Warren Carter is off to a fast start to his senior season. The replacement for James Augustine at power forward, Carter has started all eight games this year and is second on the team in scoring with an average of 11.6 points. He has reached double figures five times, led by a career-high 17 points vs. Bradley on Nov. 25. Carter also had eight rebounds vs. the Braves and had eight points, three blocks and three steals vs. Miami (OH) the night before to earn a spot on the Chicago Invitational All-Tournament Team.
Carter started strong against Maryland on Tuesday, scoring all 13 of his points in the first half, while tallying his second double-double of the season with 11 boards.
Carter is second on the team in rebounding behind Pruitt, averaging 6.5 rpg (ninth in Big Ten). He had the first double-double of his career vs. Jackson State (Nov. 15) with 16 points and a career-high 15 rebounds. His 15 boards vs. JSU are the most by a Big Ten player this year.
Trent Meacham starred at Champaign Centennial High School and initially went to Dayton on a full scholarship. After playing as a true freshman at Dayton in 2004-05, Meacham returned to Illini country, choosing to walk-on to the Illinois squad. Meacham sat out last season as a transfer and has been awarded a scholarship for this season.
After an injury to Jamar Smith in the season opener vs. Austin Peay, Meacham found himself in the starting lineup just two days later, playing all 40 minutes vs. Jackson State (Nov. 15), scoring eight points with a career-high six assists.
Meacham was Illinois' leading scorer for two straight games with 19 points vs. Georgia Southern (Nov. 17) followed by a career-high 24 points vs. Florida A&M (Nov. 19). He tied the school record for 3-pointers in a game with eight vs. FAMU en route to his 24 points.
Meacham is tied for first in the Big Ten in 3-point field goal shooting at 50 percent (18-36), is averaging 10.0 points on the season and is second on the team in assists (2.5 apg),
Weber Nation's Second-Winningest Coach over Past Five-Plus Seasons
Bruce Weber has coached consistent winners everywhere he's been throughout his college career. In fact, over the past five-plus seasons only one head coach in America has more wins on his resume than Weber. Beginning with the 2001-02 season, Weber has recorded 148 victories, which trails only Duke's Mike Krzyzewski (153 wins, next game Dec. 2) and leads Roy Williams (143 wins, next game Dec. 2) for the most wins by an NCAA Div. I coach over this time span. In his final two years at Southern Illinois, Weber went 28-8 in 2001-02 and 24-7 in 2002-03. He then took over the Illinois program, leading the Illini to a 26-7 record in 2003-04, a 37-2 mark in 2004-05, another 26-7 record in 2005-06, and a 7-1 mark so far this season.
*For complete set of Illinois men's basketball game notes, click on the .pdf link at the top of this page.