Game 11 Notes & Links: Illinois vs. No. 15 Oregon
Dec. 12, 2013
Series Notes vs. Oregon
Illinois is averaging 76.5 points over the last two games (153) after scoring an average of just 60.7 points over the previous three games (182).
Illinois is 6-0 this season when scoring at least 70 points, and 20-2 overall under Coach John Groce when reaching the 70-point marker.
The Illini have shot 56.9 percent from the field (58-102) and 46.3 percent from 3-point range (19-41) over the last two games, dramatic improvement from the previous three games when the UI shot 38.7 percent from the floor (67-173) and 27.4 percent from behind the arc (17-62).
Illinois' 56.9 percent shooting over the last two games is its best accuracy over a two-game stretch since Jan. 2 and 6, 2011, when the Illini combined to shoot 63.5 percent in wins over Wisconsin and Northwestern. Illinois has shot better than 50 percent from the field in back-to-back games for the first time since Feb. 5 and 9, 2012, when the Illini made 54.2 percent against Northwestern and 52 percent at Indiana.
This is the first time in eight seasons that Illinois has held each of its first 10 opponents to less than 70 points, since the 2005-06 UI squad did so in the first 16 games.
Illinois has rebounded 38 percent of its misses, ranking 35th in the nation in offensive rebound percentage.
Junior transfer Rayvonte Rice is the first Illini newcomer to score in double figures in each of his first 10 games since Kiwane Garris did so in his first 10 games as a freshman in 1993-94.
Rice has led the Illini in scoring in each of the last five games, averaging 20.2 points (101) on 53.6 percent shooting (37-69), including 40.7 percent accuracy from 3-point range (11-27).
Rice also is shooting 40.7 percent from 3-point range over the last five games (11-27), after shooting 22.7 percent behind the arc over the first five games (5-22).
Rice is shooting 62.8 percent on 2-pointers this season (49-78).
Rice is one of only two Big Ten players to score at least 12 points in every game this year, along with Penn State's D.J. Newbill.
Over the last two games, Jon Ekey has averaged 12.5 points (25) on 53.3 percent shooting (8-15) and 53.8 percent 3-point shooting. In his previous three games, Ekey combined for just 13 points on 5-of-19 shooting, and 3-of-15 from three.
Tracy Abrams has shot 57.1 percent (4-7) from 3-point range over the last two games, after missing all 11 three-point attempts over his previous four games.
Freshman Malcolm Hill scored a season-high 10 points in Tuesday's win over Dartmouth. It marked just the second double figure scoring game from the Illini bench this season, and first in eight games.
Nnanna Egwu scored in double figures for the first time in four games with 11 points on Tuesday against Dartmouth, just one off his season high.
Joseph Bertrand is shooting 57.1 percent from 3-point range this season (8-14) after entering his senior season as a career 31.1 percent shooter from behind the arc (20-64).
The starting five has clearly carried the scoring load, combining for 79.8 percent of Illinois' points on the season (577 of 723).
Freshman Jaylon Tate ranks second in the Big Ten with an assist/turnover ratio of 4.0 (36 assists, 9 turnovers).
Saturday's appearance at the Moda Center is the second of five neutral-site games for the Illini at professional venues. Illinois defeated Auburn on Dec. 8 at Philips Arena, home of the Atlanta Hawks. The Braggin' Rights game vs. Missouri on Dec. 21 will again be held at Scottrade Center, home of the St. Louis Blues. Illinois makes its annual appearance in Chicago on Dec. 28 vs. UIC at the United Center, home to the Chicago Bulls and Blackhawks. The Big Ten Tournament, meanwhile, is March 13-16 at Bankers Life Fieldhouse, home of the Indiana Pacers.
Countdown to 1,700
Rk. School All-Time Wins Next Game 1. Kentucky 2,119 Dec. 14 2. Kansas 2,107 Dec. 14 3. North Carolina 2,096 Dec. 14 4. Duke 2,008 Dec. 16 5. Syracuse 1,883 Dec. 15 6. Temple 1,818 Dec. 18 7. UCLA 1,761 Dec. 14 8. St. John's 1,760 Dec. 15 9. Notre Dame 1,754 Dec. 14 10. Indiana 1,727 Dec. 14 11. Pennsylvania 1,708 Dec. 22 12. Louisville 1,705 Dec. 14 13. Illinois 1,699 Dec. 14 14. BYU 1,698 Dec. 14
Strength Against Strength
Taking on a Ranked Opponent
Illinois' last victory over a Top-25 opponent in non-conference play also occurred last season, at No. 10 Gonzaga, 85-74, on Dec. 8, 2012.
Illinois is 4-7 against ranked opponents under Groce.
Returning to the City of Roses
Illinois' most recent visit came in the 2009 NCAA Tournament, when the fifth-seeded Illini were upset by No. 12 seed Western Kentucky, 76-72. Three seasons prior, No. 11 Illinois defeated Oregon, 89-59.
Illinois also participated in a pair of Far West Classic holiday tournaments, held at Portland's Memorial Coliseum. In 1969, the Illini lost to Washington State, defeated Michigan State and fell to USC. In 19777, Illinois lost to Washington State, defeated Oregon (86-80) and fell to Washington.
Holiday Big Ten Mini-Pack Tickets On Sale
In addition to the Big Ten Mini-Pack, tickets are still available for all remaining Illinois home games. Single-game tickets can be purchased online at FightingIllini.com or by calling the Illinois Ticket Office at 1-866-Illini-1.
Getting it Done on D