Trent Meacham and the Illini return to the Assembly Hall on Monday, hosting Western Carolina at 7 p.m.
Dec. 15, 2007
Champaign, Ill. -
FIGHTING ILLINI BASKETBALL
Game #9: Illinois (5-3) vs. Western Carolina (3-5)*
*WCU plays at Indiana Saturday night
Dec. 17, 2007 7 p.m. CT BTN
Champaign, Ill. Assembly Hall (16,618)
On the Air
BTN: Wayne Larrivee, play-by-play; Shon Morris, expert analyst.
Illini Sports Network - 45 stations: Brian Barnhart, play-by-play; Jerry Hester, expert analyst; Loren Tate, pregame/halftime/postgame interviews.
Illini Probable Starters
F - 42 Brian Randle (r-Sr, 6-8, 220, 9.9 ppg, 4.6 rpg, 1.3 apg)
C - 55 Shaun Pruitt (Sr., 6-10, 245, 12.0 ppg, 7.6 rpg, 1.0 apg)
G - 25 Calvin Brock (r-Jr., 6-5, 195, 8.9 ppg, 4.4 rpg, 1.1 apg, 1.6 spg)
G - 1 Trent Meacham (r-Jr., 6-2, 195, 11.5 ppg, 2.0 rpg, 3.3 apg, 1.3 spg)
G - 3 Chester Frazier (Jr., 6-2, 190, 6.3 ppg, 6.0 rpg, 3.6 apg, 1.1 spg)
Off the Bench
G - 2 Chris Hicks (Sr., 6-2, 190, 0.0 ppg, 0.0 rpg)
G - 13 Jeff Jordan (Fr., 6-1, 185, 0.6 ppg, 0.2 rpg)
G - 22 Steve Holdren (r-Jr., 6-5, 200, 1.5 ppg, 1.0 rpg, 1.0 apg)
F - 23 Rodney Alexander (Jr., 6-7, 225, 7.0 ppg, 3.8 rpg)
F - 24 Mike Davis (Fr., 6-9, 195, 2.8 ppg, 1.9 rpg)
F - 30 Bill Cole (Fr., 6-9, 210, 2.7 ppg, 1.8 rpg)
F - 32 Demetri McCamey (Fr., 6-3, 205, 4.6 ppg, 1.8 rpg, 2.6 apg)
C - 33 Brian Carlwell (So., 6-11, 265, 0.0 ppg, 0.0 rpg)
F - 50 Richard Semrau (r-Fr., 6-9, 235, 0.0 ppg, 0.3 rpg)
C - 54 Mike Tisdale (Fr., 7-1, 215, 3.8 ppg, 1.6 rpg)
Illinois Head Coach Bruce Weber
Overall Record: 220-85/.721 (10th year)
At Illinois: 117-31/.791 (5th year)
Big Ten: 48-16/.750
Vs. Western Carolina: 0-0
Assistant Coaches: Wayne McClain (7th year), Jay Price (5th year), Jerrance Howard (1st year)
Assistant to the Head Coach: Gary Nottingham (5th year)
Trainer: Al Martindale (25th year at Illinois)
Western Carolina Head Coach: Larry Hunter
Overall Record: 536-266/.668 (28th year)
At Western Carolina: 27-42/.391 (3rd year)
Vs. Illinois: 0-0
Series Notes: Western Carolina
This is the first-ever meeting between Illinois and Western Carolina.
Illini Notes ...
Monday's game vs. Western Carolina marks just the third time in nine games to start the season that Illinois will play at the Assembly Hall. Illinois has played a total of six road/neutral games, the second-highest total among BCS schools.
After opening the season with seven games in three weeks, the Illini played just one game over a span of 15 days entering Monday night's contest.
Trent Meacham is averaging 17 points and is shooting 61.5 percent from the field (24-39) and 52.2 percent from 3-point range (12-23) over the last four games. He has also totaled 14 assists with only four turnovers (3.5 a/to ratio), along with eight steals over that span.
Shaun Pruitt has scored at least nine points in all but one game this season. He had a career-high 24 points vs. Arizona and made 10-of-11 from the field, tying the sixth-best shooting performance in school history.
Calvin Brock is averaging 11.2 points on 51.1 percent shooting from the field (23-45) and 60 percent from 3-point range (6-10) over the last five games.
After reaching double figures in each of the season's first four games, Brian Randle returned to double figures for the first time in four games in his last outing vs. Arizona, scoring 11 points. Randle also had a season-high five assists.
Chester Frazier is averaging 5.3 assists over the last three games.
Mike Davis has recorded 19 points and 12 rebounds in 13.3 minutes per game over the last four games, after totaling just three points and three boards in 4.3 mpg through the first four games.
Mike Tisdale is averaging 6.0 points and 2.0 rebounds in 12.0 minutes over the last two games. He played a career-high 15 minutes vs. Weber State and tied his career best with eight points.
Trent Meacham ranks second in the Big Ten in assist-to-turnover ratio with a 3.7 ratio on the season (26 assists/7 turnovers).
Shaun Pruitt ranks second in the Big Ten in offensive rebounds with an average of 3.8 per game (30 total offensive boards).
Illinois is averaging 18.7 assists per game over the last three games after averaging just 12.6 apg through the first five games. The Illini had a season's best 23 assists vs. Arizona.
Illinois has played a challenging schedule to date, with a strength of schedule currently ranked 13th by Jeff Sagarin and 34th by Ken Pomeroy. Illinois has played just two home games entering Monday's contest at the Assembly Hall, with six of its first eight games coming on the road (Hawaii, Maryland) or at neutral sites (Arizona State, Duke and Oklahoma State in Maui and Arizona in Chicago). Through Dec. 14, Illinois is tied for second among schools from BCS conferences that have played the highest number of road and neutral games:
Most Road/Neutral Games by BCS Schools (thru 12/14) 1. Georgia Tech ACC 7 T2. North Carolina ACC 6 T2. Providence Big East 6 T2. South Florida Big East 6 T2. ILLINOIS Big Ten 6 T2. Michigan Big Ten 6 T2. Colorado Big XII 6 T2. USC Pac-10 6 T2. Washington State Pac-10 6
Illinois' two home games through Dec. 16 are the fewest among Big Ten teams. In fact, the next lowest total of home games is five by three league teams:
Most Home Games by Big Ten Schools (thru 12/16) T1. Wisconsin 8 T1. Iowa 8 3. Indiana 7 T4. Michigan State 6 T4. Minnesota 6 T4. Ohio State 6 T4. Penn State 6 T8. Michigan 5 T8. Northwestern 5 T8. Purdue 5 11. ILLINOIS 2
Last Time Out: Arizona
Illinois let one slip away in a 78-72 overtime loss to No. 22 Arizona at the United Center on Dec. 8. The Illini led by as many as 12 points in the second half and had a 57-51 advantage with five minutes left but could not convert at the free throw line to put the game away in regulation. Arizona jumped out to a 71-65 lead in OT and made 7-of-8 at the line to ice it.
Dominating the Glass
Illinois has outrebounded six of eight opponents this year and owns a rebounding margin of +5.8 on the season. Illinois ranks fourth in the Big Ten in rebounding margin and is also fourth in the conference in total rebounds, averaging 38.5 rpg.
Illinois' bench is contributing 25 points per game and has outscored the opposing bench in five of eight games. Illinois has also had five double-figure scoring games by players off the bench this season:
Player Opponent Points Calvin Brock Hawaii 11 Demetri McCamey Hawaii 10 Calvin Brock Duke 14 Trent Meacham Oklahoma State 17 Trent Meacham Weber State 26
Meacham Settles in at Shooting Guard
Junior Trent Meacham shared time at point guard and shooting guard last season, but with the addition of freshman Demetri McCamey to share point guard responsibilities with junior Chester Frazier, Coach Weber has Meacham focusing solely on the shooting guard position this season. The move has helped Meacham settle in and define his role on the team.
Over the last four games, Meacham is averaging 17.0 points and is shooting 61.5 percent from the field (24-39) and 52.2 percent from 3-point range (12-23). Meacham had a game-high 17 points vs. Oklahoma State, nine at Maryland, a career-high 26 points vs. Weber State and 16 vs. Arizona.
In addition to his increased scoring, Meacham is also taking care of the basketball, ranking second in the Big Ten with an assist-to-turnover ratio of 3.7 on the season (26 a/7 to).
Pruitt a Force Inside
Illinois has one of the top post players in the Big Ten in senior and three-year starting center Shaun Pruitt. A preseason All-Big Ten selection, Pruitt leads the Illini in scoring and rebounding, averaging 12.0 points and 7.6 rebounds. He has scored at least nine points all but one game this season, with a career-high 24 points vs. Arizona, 15 at Hawaii, 12 vs. Northeastern, 11 vs. Duke, 10 at Maryland, nine each vs. Arizona State and Oklahoma State.
Pruitt made 10-of-11 from the field against Arizona, which tied the sixth-best shooting performance in school history.
Pruitt has 10 career double-doubles including one this season, when he pulled down a career-high 17 boards to go along with his 12 points vs. Northeastern in the opener. It marked the highest rebounding total by an Illini player in eight seasons, since Sergio McClain had 18 rebounds at Michigan on Jan. 16, 2000.
Pruitt has 30 offensive rebounds on the year, ranking second in the Big Ten with an average of 3.8 per game.
Randle More Aggressive on Offense
Senior and three-year starter Brian Randle currently carries a career-high scoring average of 9.9 points. He reached double figures in each of the first four games this season, a career-best streak, before it came to an end vs. Oklahoma State when he left due to injury just seven minutes into the game. Randle had 14 points in the opener vs. Northeastern, 12 points at Hawaii, a career-high 17 points vs. Arizona State and 16 points vs. Duke.
Randle returned to double figures for the first time in four games vs. Arizona, scoring 11 points. He also had a season-high five assists vs. the Wildcats.
Randle is shooting 48.5 percent from the field (32-66) and is also averaging 4.6 rebounds on the season (third on the team).
Frazier Does It All
Point guard Chester Frazier has earned a reputation for his relentless play and ability to impact the game in all areas. Leading the team in playing time at 32.5 minutes per contest, Frazier is averaging 6.3 points and leads the Illini in assists (3.6 apg) and ranks third in steals (1.1 spg). Despite standing 6-2, Frazier also is second in rebounding behind Pruitt with an average of 6.0 rpg. Frazier has twice grabbed a season-high nine rebounds, at Hawaii and vs. Duke, He also tallied eight boards vs. Oklahoma State, and seven at Maryland. He has been the UI's leading rebounder in four games this season.
Brock Named to Maui Invite All-Tourney Team
Junior Calvin Brock was named to the EA SPORTS Maui Invitational All-Tournament Team after averaging 9.3 points and 4.3 rebounds during the tournament in just over 21 minutes per game. Brock came off the bench to record a season-high 14 points vs. Duke, which was also the second-highest scoring output of his career. He earned his first start of the season the following day vs. Oklahoma State and scored in double figures again with 12 points on 5-7 shooting while pulling down a game-high eight boards. He shot 50 percent (11-22) on the week and also led the Illini with five steals.
*For complete set of Illinois men's basketball game notes, click on .pdf link at top of this page.