Men's Basketball
#13/14 Illinois Game Notes at #10/10 Gonzaga

 
D.J. Richardson scored 19 points in last year's 82-75 win over Gonzaga.
D.J. Richardson scored 19 points in last year's 82-75 win over Gonzaga.
 

Dec. 7, 2012


 Game 10: #13/14 Illinois (9-0) at #10/10 Gonzaga (9-0)
 Date Saturday, Dec. 8, 2012
 Time 7 p.m. PT / 9 p.m. CT
 Location Spokane, Wash. | McCarthey Athletic Center (6,000)
 Television ESPN2 | WatchESPN.com
    TV Announcers: Roxy Bernstein (Play-By-Play), Stephen Bardo (Analyst)
 Radio Illini Sports Network | Listen | Sirius 85 / XM 85
 Live Coverage GameTracker | Live Stats
 Printable Game Notes Illinois | Gonzaga | Big Ten
 Season Stats Illinois | Gonzaga | Big Ten
 Social Media @IlliniHoops   |  #Illini | Facebook | YouTube

Probable Starters (from the previous game)

Pos.	No.	Name    	Ht.	Wt.	Yr.	PPG	RPG	APG	Other
G	13 	Tracy Abrams 	6-1	185	So.	11.3	3.6	3.4	1.4 spg
G	1	D.J. Richardson	6-3	195	Sr.	12.3	4.7	1.7	2.8  3FG/G
G	3	Brandon Paul	6-4	200	Sr.	17.8	4.4	3.9	1.6 a/to
F	42	Tyler Griffey	6-9	220	Sr.	10.4	3.2	0.4	51.5% 3FG
F/C	32	Nnanna Egwu	6-11	235	So.	6.0	4.2	0.7	1.1 bpg

Off the Bench

Pos.	No.	Name    	Ht. 	Wt.	Yr.	PPG	RPG	APG	Other
F	0	Sam McLaurin 	6-8	220	Gr.	4.4	4.1	0.7	24 off. reb.
G	2	Joseph Bertrand	6-6	195	r-Jr.	8.2	4.2	1.0	57.8% FG
G	10	Mike LaTulip	6-0	165	Fr.	2.8	0.3	0.0	3-6  3FG
F	15	Mike Shaw	6-8	215	So.	1.0	0.6	0.1	2-3 FG
G/F	20	Myke Henry	6-6	230	So.	4.3	2.7	0.2	.375% 3FG
G/F	21	Devin Langford	6-7	200	r-Fr.	0.6	1.6	0.2	2 steals
F/C	23	Ibby Djimde	6-8	245	So.	0.0	0.2	0.0	10 minutes
G	24	Rayvonte Rice %	6-4	240	Jr.
G	31	Kevin Berardini	6-0	165	r-Jr. 	1.0	0.0	0.4	5-6 FT
		% Rice is sitting out this season per NCAA transfer rules

Coaching Staff
Head Coach: John Groce
Career Record: 94-56/.627 (5th year)
At Illinois: 9-0/1.000 (1st year)
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. Gonzaga
Series Record: Illinois leads 4-1
Last Meeting:  Illinois 82, #19/18 Gonzaga 75 (Dec. 3, 2011 // Champaign, Ill.)
Series Streak: Illinois W-2
Record at Spokane: First meeting
Groce vs. Gonzaga: First meeting

Groce Off to Historic Start
First-year head coach John Groce has the Illini off to a 9-0 start this season, the best debut for an Illini coach in the modern era. Groce is just the second Illini coach ever - and first in more than 100 years - to begin his UI tenure with at least nine consecutive wins. Fletcher Lane owns the best start of any first-year Illini coach. He won his first 12 games during the 1907-08 season, although 11 of those 12 victories came against YMCA/Athletic Club teams.

Another Undefeated Match-Up
Saturday's night's contest is a match-up of undefeated teams, as Illinois and Gonzaga are two of the 18 remaining unbeaten Div. I squads. The Illini and the Bulldogs are also two of only five teams in the country that have nine wins.

This is the second straight year that the teams are meeting with undefeated records. Last year the 7-0 Illini won their eighth straight game, handing 5-0 Gonzaga its first loss of the season on Dec. 3 in Champaign. (See Pages 4-5 for more notes on the Illinois-Gonzaga series)

Illini Look to End Streaks Against a Ranked Opponent
Illinois faces its first ranked opponent of the season on Saturday night at No. 10 Gonzaga. The Illini have lost five straight versus Top-25 teams, with the most recent win coming last season over No. 9 Michigan State, 42-41, at the Assembly Hall (Jan. 31, 2012).

Illinois is trying to snap a nine-game road skid versus ranked teams, looking for its first win on a Top-25 opponent's home floor since winning at No. 11 Wisconsin, 63-56, on Feb. 9, 2010.

Illinois' last road win over a Top-10 team came on Dec. 30, 2008, when the Illini defeated No. 9 Purdue, 71-67, in overtime in West Lafayette.

The Illini are in search of their first non-conference road win against a Top-10 opponent in 26 years, since winning at No. 4 Georgia Tech, 59-57, on March 1, 1986. Illinois has lost its last four non-conference road games against Top-10 foes.

Still Unbeaten
At 9-0, the Illini are currently tied for the NCAA lead in wins and are one of 18 undefeated teams left in Div. I. Three of those remaining unbeatens are in the Big Ten (Illinois, Indiana, Michigan), tied with the SEC (Florida, LSU, Mississippi) for first among all conferences.

NCAA Div. I Teams with Nine Wins
Gonzaga (Next Game Dec. 8)
Illinois (Next Game Dec. 8)
Minnesota (Next Game Dec. 8)
New Mexico (Next Game Dec. 8)
Wyoming (Next Game Dec. 8)

Fast Out of the Gate Again
The Illini are off to an 9-0 start for the second consecutive season. Illinois won its first 10 games last year before suffering its first loss to UNLV on Dec. 17. Illinois has tied the 11th-best start in school history at 9-0 (see chart at bottom of Page 4 for Illinois' all-time best starts).

Movin' On Up
Illinois has climbed to No. 13 in this week's Associated Press rankings, after debuting at No. 22 last week. Illinois' current ranking of 13th is its highest since reaching No. 12 in the Dec. 13, 2010 AP poll.

The Illini basketball program has been ranked in the Top 25 each of the last five seasons.

Non-Conference Road Success
Illinois has won its last six non-conference road games heading into Saturday night's game at Gonzaga. That streak spans the last five seasons, dating back to the 2008-09 campaign.

Illinois Current Non-Conference Road Winning Streak:

Date    	Opponent	Score
Nov. 20, 2008	at Vanderbilt	W, 69-63
Dec. 2, 2009	at #18 Clemson	W, 76-74
March 17, 2010	at Stony Brook	W, 76-66
Nov. 27, 2010	at W. Michigan	W, 78-63
Nov. 24, 2011	at Maryland	W, 71-62
Nov. 16, 2012	at Hawaii	W, 78-77 (OT)

3-Point Barrage
Illinois currently leads the NCAA in total 3-point field goals (97) and 3-point field goals per game (10.8). The Illini made at least 10 three-pointers in its first six games of the season, becoming the first UI team ever to make double-digit three-point field goals in six consecutive games. Illinois has now made 10 or more threes in all but two games.

Illinois has made 34 more 3-point baskets than its opposition so far this season (97-to-63), a total of 102 more points and meaning the Illini are outscoring the competition by a margin of 11.3 points per game from the land of three.

While it's still early, the Illini look to be well on their way to challenging the school record for 3-point field goals per game, which is currently 8.8 per game by the 2004-05 national runner-up team.

Illinois made 14 three-pointers against Georgia Tech on Nov. 28, the best mark since 2005 and equaling the fourth-highest total in school history.

The Last Meeting
Gonzaga75
Illinois82
December 3, 2011
Assembly Hall
Illinois Upsets No. 19 Gonzaga, 82-75
Meyers Leonard scored 21 points to lead Illinois to a 82-75 win over No. 19 Gonzaga on Saturday.
Highlights | Box Score | Photos |

PAST ILLINOIS VS. GONZAGA MATCH-UPS

Dec. 3, 2011 // Illinois 82, #19 Gonzaga 75 // Assembly Hall; Champaign, Ill. // Recap
Illinois led nearly the entire way, trailing just twice early (2-0, 6-4). Each time Gonzaga made a run, the Illini answered. After the Bulldogs evened the contest early in the second half, the Orange and Blue reeled off seven straight points to open up 45-38 advantage with 15:54 remaining. Gonzaga later got to within two at 58-56, but the Illini outscored the Zags 11-4 over the next four minutes to make it a 69-60 game with 4:55 left. Illinois maintained at least a two-possession lead the rest of the way. Meyers Leonard led the Illini with a game-high 21 points on 9-of-11 shooting. D.J. Richardson nailed four three-pointers on his way to 19 points, one shy of his career high, and Brandon Paul added 13 points.

Dec. 4, 2010 // #20 Illinois 73, Gonzaga 61 // Key Arena; Seattle, Wash. // Recap
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 locker room 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. // Recap
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 before Gonzaga made a comeback of its own, going on a 13-4 run 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 overtime. 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. // Recap
Illinois rolled past Gonzaga in the fifth annual John R. Wooden Tradition at Conseco Fieldhouse. The 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. // Recap
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.

HEADLINES