Men's Basketball
Illinois Game Notes vs. Minnesota

Reigning Big Ten Player of the Week Meyers Leonard and the Illini open conference play Tuesday at the Assembly Hall, facing Minnesota.
Reigning Big Ten Player of the Week Meyers Leonard and the Illini open conference play Tuesday at the Assembly Hall, facing Minnesota.

Dec. 26, 2011

Game #14 Notes: Illinois (11-2, 0-0) vs. Minnesota (12-1, 0-0)

Dec. 27, 2011 // 6:30 pm CT // Champaign, Ill. // Assembly Hall (16,618)

Complete Illinois Game Notes | Minnesota Game Notes

Gameday Links: Listen | Gametracker | Mobile Livestats | Twitter

TV: BTN - Dave Revsine, (Play-By-Play), Jim Jackson (Analyst)
Radio: Illini Sports Network - Brian Barnhart (Play-By-Play), Jerry Hester (Analyst), Loren Tate (Reports)
Satellite Radio: Sirius - 92, XM - 190

Probable Starters (from the previous game)

Pos.	No.	Name	        Ht.	Wt.	Yr.	PPG	RPG	APG	Other
G	0	Sam Maniscalco	6-0	180	Gr.	10.6	2.3	2.9	88.6% FT
G	1	D.J. Richardson	6-3	195	Jr.	14.3	2.8	1.8	41.4% 3FG
G	3	Brandon Paul	6-4	200	Jr.	11.3	4.4	3.1	1.2 spg
F	42	Tyler Griffey	6-8	230	Jr.	7.0	4.8	0.6	25 off. reb.
C	12	Meyers Leonard	7-1	245	So.	13.4	8.2	1.6	2.4 bpg

Off the Bench

Pos.	No.	Name	        Ht. 	Wt.	Yr.	PPG	RPG	APG	Other
G	2	Joseph Bertrand	6-5	195	r-So.	4.4	1.8	1.0	57.5% FG
G	4	Crandall Head	6-4	190	So.	1.0	0.6	1.0	9.2 mpg
G	13	Tracy Abrams 	6-1	185	Fr.	2.4	2.1	1.4	14 off. reb.
F	15	Mike Shaw	6-8	230	Fr.	1.3	2.6	0.2	9.4 mpg
G/F	20	Myke Henry	6-6	230	Fr.	2.9	1.0	0.3 	50% 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	0.2	0.2	5 minutes
F/C	32	Nnanna Egwu	6-11	245	Fr.	2.2	1.8	0.4	0.9 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: 307-142/.684 (14th year)
At Illinois: 204-88/.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. Minnesota
Series Record: Illinois leads 115-62
Last Meeting:  Illinois 71, Minnesota 62 (Feb. 10, 2011 at Minneapolis)
Series Streak: Illinois W-1
Record at Champaign: Illinois leads 69-17
Series Streak at Champaign: Minnesota W-1
Weber vs. Minnesota: 12-2

Illini in Big Ten Openers
A charter member of the conference, Illinois opens its 107th season of Big Ten basketball on Tuesday night ... Illinois is 65-41 all-time in Big Ten openers ... Illinois has won 10 of its last 12 league openers, including each of the last three ... The Illini are 42-17 when beginning conference play at home and 21-5 in Big Ten openers at the Assembly Hall ... This is the 11th time in the last 16 seasons that Illinois begins Big Ten play at home ... This is the 17th time that Illinois and Minnesota open the Big Ten season against each other and first since Jan. 7, 2003, when the Illini defeated the Gophers 76-70 in Minneapolis.

Leonard Big Ten Player of the Week
Meyers Leonard earned Big Ten Player of the Week accolades on Monday, receiving the honor after averaging 16.5 points, 14.5 rebounds, 3.5 assists and 2.5 blocks while shooting 62.5 percent from the field in a pair of games last week. Leonard recorded back-to-back double-doubles, tallying game highs of 19 points and a career-high 16 rebounds against Cornell followed by 14 points and a game-high 13 rebounds versus Missouri. Leonard receives his second conference weekly award of the season, the first coming on Dec. 5.

Current Illini vs. Minnesota
D.J. Richardson (2 G): 10.5 ppg, 2.5 rpg

Highlights: 11 points last year in Minneapolis ... 10 points in 2010 in Champaign.
Brandon Paul (2 G): 9.0 ppg, 8.0 rpg
Highlights: 12 points and seven rebounds last year in Minneapolis ... Six points and season-high nine rebounds in 2010 in Champaign.
Meyers Leonard (1 G): 3 pts, 3 reb
Highlight: Made first career start last year in Minneapolis.
Tyler Griffey (2 G): 2 pts, 0 reb

Last Time Out
Illinois was unable to regain Braggin' Rights, falling to No. 9/8 Missouri 78-74 in a hard fought rivalry game in St. Louis on Dec. 22. The Illini roared back from a 14-point second-half deficit to grab a trio of 1-point leads, then a two-point advantage at 70-68 with 2:02 remaining. Mizzou, however, reeled off seven unanswered points while the UI committed back-to-back turnovers to pull ahead 75-70 with 56 seconds remaining. The Illini twice pulled within three but could get no closer.

There were plenty of bright spots for the Illini despite the loss, none bigger than Joseph Bertrand's play off the bench. Bertrand erupted for a career-high 19 points in 28 minutes without missing a shot, hitting 9-of-9 from the field and adding one free throw. Bertrand scored all but two of his points in the second half, led by an incredible sequence where he accounted for 13 of the UI's 17 points over a six-minute stretch where the Illini cut the deficit from 12 points (55-43) to one (61-60).

Bertrand's 9-for-9 performance was the best by an Illini since Roger Powell made 10-of-10 shots at Penn State on Feb. 16, 2005. Bertrand was one of four Illini to score in double figures against Mizzou. Brandon Paul had a season-high 19 points, Meyers Leonard tallied 14 and grabbed a game-high 13 rebounds for his fourth double-double of the season, and D.J. Richardson added 13.

Five on the Starting Five
D.J. Richardson
1. Leads the team in scoring with an average of 14.3 points.
2. Increased his scoring average by 5.9 points over last year (8.4 ppg), when he was the UI's fifth-leading scorer.
3. Scored in double figures in each of the last six games, averaging 16.5 points over that stretch (99).
4. Leads the Illini in 3-point shooting at 41.4 percent (36-87).
5. Average of 2.8 threes per game (36) ranks third in Big Ten.

Meyers Leonard
1. Reigning Big Ten Co-Player of the Week after averaging 16.5 points, 14.5 rebounds, 3.5 assists and 2.5 blocks against Cornell and Missouri.
2. Leads the Illini and ranks third in the Big Ten in rebounding (8.2 rpg), while ranking second on the team in scoring (13.4 ppg).
3. Increased his scoring average by 11.3 points (2.1 ppg last year), more than any other player in the Big Ten. One of three players in the conference to increase his scoring average by more than 10 points, joining Penn State's Tim Frazier (+10.9) and Wisconsin's Ben Brust (+10.1).
4. Ranks fourth in the Big Ten in field goal shooting at 61.6 percent (69-112).
5. Four double-doubles on the season, including an active streak of two straight.

Brandon Paul
1. Scoring average of 11.3 points ranks third on the team.
2. Scored in double figures in six of the last seven games, averaging 14.3 points over that stretch (100).
3. Scored season-high 19 points in his last outing vs. Missouri (Dec. 22).
4. Leads Illini in assists with 3.1 average.
5. Has made 57 trips to the free throw line this season, third-highest total among Big Ten guards behind Penn State's Tim Frazier (102 FTA) and Purdue's Lewis Jackson (61 FTA).

Sam Maniscalco
1. Fourth Illini scoring in double figures with average of 10.6 points.
2. Ranks second in the Big Ten in free throw shooting at 88.6 percent (31-35).
3. Leads Illini with a 2-to-1 assist-to-turnover ratio (38-19).
4. Second on the team in 3-point field goals with 19.
5. Registered his Illinois career-high of 24 points at Maryland (Nov. 29). Collegiate career high came at Bradley where he had 31 points vs. Creighton on March 5, 2010.

Tyler Griffey
1. Averaging 7.0 points and 4.8 boards this year, quadrupling his scoring and rebounding averages from last season (1.6 ppg and 1.2 rpg in 2010-11).
2. Ranks second on the Illini with 25 offensive rebounds.
3. Shooting 53.1 percent from the field over the last eight games (26-49).
4. Has scored in double figures three times this year after totaling three double-figure scoring games over his first two seasons.
5. Illinois is 15-2 in games he has started during his career (11-2 this season, 4-0 in 2009-10).