Men's Basketball
Men's Basketball Game Notes vs. #19/18 Gonzaga

D.J. Richardson and the Illini hit 12 threes in last year's win over Gonzaga in Seattle.
D.J. Richardson and the Illini hit 12 threes in last year's win over Gonzaga in Seattle.

Dec. 2, 2011

Game 8 Notes // Illinois (7-0) vs. #19/18 Gonzaga (5-0)

Dec. 3, 2011 // 2:15 pm CT // Champaign, Ill. // Assembly Hall (16,618)

Complete Illinois Game Notes | Gonzaga Notes

Preview Interviews: Coach Weber | Sam Maniscalco | Meyers Leonard

Gameday Links: Watch | Listen | Mobile Livestats | Gametracker | Twitter

TV: ESPN2 (also streamed online at - Dave Wischusen, (Play-By-Play), Stephen Bardo (Analyst)
Radio: Illini Sports Network - Brian Barnhart (Play-By-Play), Jerry Hester (Analyst), Loren Tate (Reports)
Satellite Radio: Sirius - 93, XM - 198

PROBABLE STARTERS (from the previous game)

Pos.	No.	Name	        Ht.	Wt.	Yr.	PPG	RPG	APG	Other
G	0	Sam Maniscalco	6-0	180	Gr.	13.3	2.1	2.1	54.7% FG
G	1	D.J. Richardson	6-3	195	Jr.	12.4	3.1	1.9	1.1 spg
G	3	Brandon Paul	6-4	200	Jr.	9.1	3.4	2.3	30 FTA
F	42	Tyler Griffey	6-8	230	Jr.	7.6	5.6	0.9	14 off. reb.
C	12	Meyers Leonard	7-1	245	So.	12.3	6.7	0.7	3.1 bpg

Off the Bench

Pos.	No.	Name	        Ht. 	Wt.	Yr.	PPG	RPG	APG	Other 
G	2	Joseph Bertrand	6-5	195	r-So.	5.1	2.3	1.4	90.9% FT
G	4	Crandall Head	6-4	190	So.	1.7	0.7	2.7	1 steal
G	13	Tracy Abrams 	6-1	185	Fr.	3.7	2.4	1.6	6 steals
F	15	Mike Shaw	6-8	230	Fr.	1.4	3.3	0.1	57.1% FG
G/F	20	Myke Henry	6-6	230	Fr.	5.3	1.0	0.3	53.8% FG
G/F	21	Devin Langford	6-7	200	Fr.
F/C	23	Ibby Djimde	6-8	250	Fr.	0.6	1.2	0.0	1 FG
G	25	Jean Selus 	6-2	195	Sr.	0.0	0.3	0.3	5 minutes
F/C	32	Nnanna Egwu	6-11	245	Fr.	3.9	2.7	0.4	1.6 bpg
G	44	Kevin Berardini	6-0	175	r-So.	0.0	0.0	0.0	3 minutes

Coaching Staff
Head Coach: Bruce Weber Career Record: 303-140/.684 (14th year) At Illinois: 200-86/.699 (9th year) Associate Head Coach: Wayne McClain (11th year) Assistant Coaches: Jay Price (9th year), Jerrance Howard (5th year) Assistant to the Head Coach: Gary Nottingham (9th year) Director of Basketball Operations: Sean Harrington (4th year)

Series Notes vs. Gonzaga
Series Record: Illinois leads 3-1 Last Meeting:  Illinois 73, Gonzaga 61 (Dec. 4, 2010 // Seattle, Wash.) Box Score and Game Recap included on Page 4 Series Streak: Illinois W-1 Record at Champaign: Illinois leads 1-0 Weber vs. Gonzaga: 2-1

Hot Start
The Illini are 7-0 for the first time since the 2006-07 season. The last time Illinois started better than 7-0 was during the 2005-06 campaign, when the UI won its first 15 games.

The current seven-game winning streak is Illinois' longest since also winning seven straight last year from Nov. 19-Dec. 12. The last time Illinois won more than seven in a row was the 15-game streak to start the 2005-06 season.

Undefeated Matchup
Saturday's contest is a match-up of undefeated teams, as Illinois and Gonzaga are two of the 21 remaining unbeaten Div. I squads.

Top 20 Opponent Comes to The Hall
Gonzaga carries a ranking of 19th in the Associated Press poll and 18th in the ESPN/USA Today Coaches poll. The Bulldogs are the highest ranked non-conference opponent to visit the Assembly Hall since No. 1 Wake Forest on Dec. 1, 2004. The fifth-ranked Illini defeated Wake Forest in that game, 91-73.

Illinois vs. Gonzaga - Past Matchups

Dec. 4, 2010 // #20 Illinois 73, Gonzaga 61 // Key Arena; Seattle, Wash.
Illinois put on a 3-point shooting clinic in Seattle. The Illini shot 52.2 percent from behind the arc, nailing 12 treys in 23 attempts. The decisive long-range attack began with 1:17 left in the first half, as Brandon Paul hit the first of back-to-back treys to close out the half. The Illini then came out of the lockerroom and made nine threes in 11 attempts; three by Mike Tisdale and two each by D.J. Richardson, Bill Cole and Demetri McCamey. That capped a stretch of 11 of 12 made baskets that were threes and turned a 2-point Illini lead into an 18-point advantage with 11 minutes remaining. Illinois had five players score in double figures. Tisdale and D.J. Richardson led the way with 15 points each, while Paul scored 12, McCamey added 11 and Mike Davis finished with 10.

Jan. 2, 2010 // Gonzaga 85, Illinois 83 (OT) // United Center; Chicago, Ill.
The Illini dropped a heartbreaker at the United Center. Illinois fell behind by 21 points early (32-11), but stormed back behind a 41-18 run to take its first lead at 52-50 with 15:45 left. Illinois led by six with five minutes remaining but this time Gonzaga made a comeback, going on a 13-4 run of its own to lead by three. But Dominique Keller hit a 3-pointer with nine seconds left to tie it at 79-all and force overtime. Gonzaga's Elias Harris then made the game-winning basket with 12 seconds remaining in ovetime. Keller led the Illini with career-highs of 22 points and nine rebounds. Demetri McCamey scored 20 and Brandon Paul added 17.

Nov. 27, 2004 // #5 Illinois 89, #24 Gonzaga 72 // Conseco Fieldhouse; Indianapolis, Ind.
Illinois rolled past Gonzaga in the fifth annual John R. Wooden Tradition at Conseco Fieldhouse. The fifth-ranked Illini jumped out to a quick 18-4 lead within five minutes and carried a 31-point margin (58-27) into halftime. The Illini led by as many as 38 points with 12 minutes remaining. The three-guard lineup of Luther Head, Deron Williams and Dee Brown combined for 57 points, 12 three-pointers, 20 assists (with just two turnovers), eight steals and seven rebounds.

Nov. 16, 2001 // #3 Illinois 76, Gonzaga 58 // Assembly Hall; Champaign, Ill.
Illinois used balanced scoring and a strong defensive effort to win its season opener over Gonzaga at the Assembly Hall. Brian Cook led the way with 18 points and nine rebounds, while Cory Bradford followed with 17 points, Robert Archibald added 16 points and seven boards, and Frank Williams had 13 points. The Illini helped force 20 Gonzaga turnovers and allowed the Zags to shoot just 41.8 percent from the field. Illinois was aggressive and got the ball inside, making 30 of 38 free throws while Gonzaga made just eight of 16 for the game.

Last Time Out
Illinois won its third straight Big Ten/ACC Challenge game and its fifth consecutive non-conference road game, defeating Maryland 71-62 Tuesday night at College Park. Illinois trailed by as many as nine points - its largest deficit on the young season - and faced its first halftime deficit of the year. But the Illini outscored the Terps 40-27 in the second half to secure the victory. The second half surge was fueled by a 10-0 run that turned a 41-37 Maryland lead into a 47-41 Illini advantage with 12:35 remaining, and the Orange and Blue led the rest of the way.

Sam Maniscalco scored 24 points, setting his career high at Illinois, and made 5-of-8 from 3-point land. Brandon Paul had a season-high 17 points, 13 of which came in the first half. Meyers Leonard was in double figures again with 12 points on 6-of-9 shooting and added six rebounds and three blocks. The Illini shot 90 percent from the free throw line (18-20), including perfect 6-of-6 in the final minute to secure the win.

Weber Wins 200
Bruce Weber recorded his 200th win at Illinois during Tuesday's victory at Maryland. In only his ninth season in Champaign, Weber already ranks third on the school's all-time coaching wins list behind Lou Henson (423 wins in 21 seasons) and Harry Combes (316 wins in 20 seasons).

Weber is just the third active Big Ten coach in the 200-win club, joining Michigan State's Tom Izzo (388 wins in East Lansing) and Wisconsin's Bo Ryan (248 wins in Madison).

Non-Conference Road Success
Illinois now has a five-game road non-conference winning streak that spans four seasons. It began with a 69-63 victory at Vanderbilt on Nov. 20, 2008, continued with a 76-74 win at Clemson on Dec. 2, 2009 and a 76-66 victory at Stony Brook on March 17, 2010, and then a 78-63 win at Western Michigan on Nov. 27, 2010. The 71-62 victory over the Terrapins on Tuesday in College Park extended the streak to five straight.

Big Ten Wins Conference Challenge over ACC for Third Straight Season
The Big Ten Conference owns bragging rights over the ACC for the third year in a row. The Big Ten won this year's Big Ten/ACC Challenge by a commanding 8-4 margin, which follows consecutive 6-5 victories in 2009 and 2010. Illinois, meanwhile, improved its all-time Challenge record to 6-7 with the win at Maryland. The Illini are tied with Ohio State and Wisconsin as the winningest Big Ten team over the 13-year history of the event.

Here's a look at the results from this year's Challenge:
Illinois 71, Maryland 62
Virginia 70, Michigan 58
Northwestern 76, Georgia Tech 60
Purdue 76, Miami 65
Clemson 71, Iowa 55
Wake Forest 55, Nebraska 53
Ohio State 85, Duke 63
North Carolina 60, Wisconsin 57
Indiana 86, North Carolina State 75
Penn State 62, Boston College 54
Michigan State 65, Florida State 49
Minnesota 58, Virginia Tech 55

Illinois Team Notes
• Illinois carries a 22-game regular season non-conference winning streak at the Assembly Hall.
• The Illini used a different starting lineup in each of the first three games. However, the lineup the UI debuted in that third game has now started five straight contests.
• Out of seven games, six different players have led the team in rebounding while four different players have led the team in scoring.
• The Illini have outrebounded all but one opponent and own a +7.7 rebound margin. Much of the advantage has been on the offensive glass, where the Illini have converted 97 second-chance points, an average of 8.2 points per game.
• Illinois' defense is holding teams to combined 35.7 percent shooting. No opponent has shot better than 42 percent.
• 11 Illini players are averaging double figures in minutes.
• The Illini bench has outscored the opposing bench in five of seven games. Illinois reserves are averaging 19.1 points per game and are outscoring opponent reserves by an average of 8.2 points.
• The Illini are averaging a Big Ten-best 6.7 blocks per game.
• Illinois leads the Big Ten in free throw percentage at 77.5 percent (107-138). The Illini have made 80 percent or better from the line in three of the last four games, highlighted by 90 percent accuracy at Maryland (18-20).
• After averaging 18.3 turnovers during its first three games (55), Illinois has averaged just 9.5 turnovers over its last four games (38).

Brandon Paul

Illini Player Notes
Sam Maniscalco leads the Illini in scoring at 13.3 points per game and in 3-point field goal shooting at 41.9 percent.
• Maniscalco is shooting nearly 55 percent on the season. He has made 50 percent or better from the field in each of the seven games.
• Maniscalco has scored in double figures in four of the last five games, averaging 16 points (80).v • Maniscalco registered his Illinois career-high of 24 points Tuesday at Maryland. His collegiate career high came at Bradley where he had 31 points vs. Creighton on March 5, 2010. v • D.J. Richardson ranks second on the team in scoring with an average of 12.4 points. He has increased his scoring average by four points over last year (8.4 ppg), when he was the UI's fifth-leading scorer.
• Richardson entered the Maryland game having scored in double figures in five straight game, tying the longest streak of his career. He was held to six points against the Terps.
Meyers Leonard has scored at least eight points in all seven games, with five in double figures. Last season, he had a total of two games in double figures.
• Leonard has 22 blocked shots on the season, leading the Big Ten and ranking 15th nationally with an average of 3.1 blocks per game.
• Leonard has 86 points in seven games after scoring 68 points during as a freshman. He also has 47 rebounds on the year after totaling 41 boards last season.
• Leonard averaged a double-double of 16 points and 10 rebounds in Cancun while playing 73 of a possible 80 minutes.
Brandon Paul has scored in double figures in every other game this year. He had a season-high 17 points Tuesday at Maryland.
Joseph Bertrand has played double figures minutes in all but one game. Last year, he recorded double figure minutes only once.
• Bertrand has scored 36 points in seven games after totaling 17 points all of last season.
Tyler Griffey has 53 points in seven games, already surpassing his total of 42 points last season. Griffey also has 39 rebounds on the year, exceeding his total of 30 boards last year.