Illinois vs. Providence

<p>FIGHTING ILLINI BASKETBALL <p>Game #6: #14 Illinois (4-1) vs. Providence (3-1) <p>ESPN * 6 p.m. CT / 7 p.m. ET * Dec. 9, 2003 * Jimmy V Classic <p>New York, N.Y. * Madison Square Garden (19,763)

Series History - Providence

Providence won the only previous meeting between the two schools, 81-79, on Dec. 28, 1965, at the old Madison Square Garden. Providence was ranked 10th in the nation in that meeting.

Illinois' First Appearance in Jimmy V Classic

Illinois is making its first appearance in the Jimmy V Classic, with a portion of the proceeds from the event benefitting The V Foundation For Cancer Research. Illinois coach Bruce Weber and the Fighting Illini are also involved with Coaches vs. Cancer and have raised over $100,000 toward cancer research.

Big Ten Leaders

Sophomore James Augustine (.657) and Roger Powell (.644) rank third and fourth, respectively, in field goal percentage in the Big Ten.

Deron Williams ranks seventh (16.4), Dee Brown (15.6), ninth and Roger Powell (15.0) 11th in scoring. Williams ranks first in assists (7.2 avg.), while Brown is seventh (4.4 avg.).

Augustine ranks second in rebounding (10.0 avg.).

Williams ranks second in free-throw percentage (12-13, .923).

Williams ranks seventh in steals (1.80 avg.).

Williams ranks fifth in 3-point FG percentage (.455).

Augustine ranks sixth in blocked shots (1.40 avg.).

Brown leads Big Ten with 3.2 3-pt. FGs per game, while Williams is fifth (2.0 avg.).

Illinois leads the Big Ten in scoring (85.4 ppg), scoring margin (+18.2) and field goal percentage (.497).

Illinois ranks second in rebounding margin (+8.4), assists (19.8 avg.), offensive rebounding (15.0 avg.), three-point field goals (6.6 avg.) and assist/turnover ratio (1.38).

Top 25 Streak Continues

Illinois is ranked 11th in the current (Dec. 1) ESPN/USA Today Coaches' Poll, extending its streak to 62 consecutive polls in which the Illini have been ranked. Illinois is also ranked No. 11 in the AP Top 25 poll.

The Illini had a school record-streak of 30 straight polls in the Top 10 snapped in January, 2002, but has never dropped out of the Coaches' Top 25 the last three-plus seasons.

Last Time Out

Illinois used smothering defense to pound Arkansas 84-61 at the United Center in Chicago on Dec. 6. The Illini held the Razorbacks to just 33 percent field goal shooting and forced 21 turnovers. Illinois' Deron Williams posted the first double-double of his career with a team-high 17 points and career-high 10 assists. Williams combined with Dee Brown for 30 points, 16 assists and just three turnovers in 63 minutes. James Augustine also posted a double-double with 12 points and 12 rebounds. Nick Smith (10) and Luther Head (11) joined Williams, Brown and Augustine in double figures.

Williams Showcases All-Around Game

He scores, he defends, he distributes the ball...guard Deron Williams has been turning heads with his senational play to start his sophomore season. Williams leads the team in scoring (16.4 ppg) and has scored in double figures in all five games, setting a career-high in points in three-consecutive games up to the Arkansas game, but setting a career-high with 10 assists against the Razorbacks. His scoring average so far is more than 10 points better than his freshman scoring average of 6.3 points. He scored a career-high 22 points vs. North Carolina and is shooting 51 percent from the field (30-59) and nearly so from 3-point land (10-22, .455). While his scoring has improved dramatically, Williams remains an unselfish player with the ball in his hands. He leads the Big Ten in assists with 36 (7.2 apg), handing out eight assists in the season opener vs. Western Illinois and again against North Carolina before dropping 10 dimes against Arkansas.

Augustine Averaging Double-Double

Another member of the heralded Illini sophomore class is James Augustine. Augustine, named to the first-ever Big Ten All-Freshman Team last season, is averaging a double-double with 10.4 points and 10.0 rebounds per game. He is shooting 66 percent (23-35) from the field and leads the team with 17 offensive rebounds in five games. Augustine has scored at least nine points in each game, and has had at least nine boards in four of five games, with a career-high 13 against Western Illinois in the season opener.

Last year as a freshman, he averaged 7.0 points while shooting 58.0 percent from the field. Augustine was second on the team behind Brian Cook in rebounding, averaging 5.8 boards. He ranked 13th in the Big Ten in rebounding at 5.8 per game and was 13th in blocked shots. In Big Ten play only, Augustine ranked third in field-goal shooting at 58.6 percent.

Smith Steps Into Starting Role

Nick Smith, a 7-foot-2-inch junior, moved into the starting lineup in the third game of the season and is averaging 7.2 points and 4.6 rebounds. He has scored in double figures in three games, with season highs of 13 against Western Illinois and Mercer. Smith is coming off a 10-point performance vs. Arkansas.

Last year, he put up some impressive numbers off the bench in Big Ten play. In 16 conference games, Smith shot 67.3 percent (33-49) from the field, made 4-of-6 treys, and shot 90.5 percent (19-21) from the free-throw line. Smith averaged 5.9 points and 2.9 rebounds in the league while averaging 18.8 minutes per game. He led the Illini and ranked seventh in the Big Ten with 38 blocked shots. Smith was Illinois' top free throw shooter, making 38-of-44 from the line for 86.4 percent on the season

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