Illini at Penn State Game Notes

Illinois leads the all-time series over Penn State 18-7. The Illini also lead in games played at University Park, 8-3. This is the only game between the two teams this season. The squads also met just once last year, when Illinois had its 33-game homecourt winning streak and six-game series winning snapped with a 66-65 defeat on Feb. 4, 2006.

Illinois enters Saturday's game at Penn State as one of the Big Ten's hottest teams, having won five of its last six games. In those five wins, UI opponents are averaging 44.2 ppg (221 total).

• For the second straight year and third time in the last four seasons, Illinois ends its Big Ten schedule with two road games. Following Saturday's game at Penn State, Illinois wraps up the regular season at Iowa on March 3.

• With the win over Michigan on Wednesday, Illinois has now reached at least 20 victories for the eighth straight year, which is also the program's 26th all-time 20-win season.

• Illinois played its final home game on Wednesday (Feb. 21), marking the earliest time by calendar date that the Illini finished its home schedule in 56 years, since 1951 when Illinois played its last home game on Feb. 19.

• Illinois ranks 14th in the NCAA in scoring defense (as of Feb. 18), holding its opponents to an average of just 57.4 points on the season.

• Illinois is 7-3 over its last 10 Big Ten games after beginning conference play 1-3. Defense has been the biggest reason for the turnaround. Over the last 10 games, Illinois is allowing an average of 51.6 points (516) on 39.7 percent shooting (190-479) and 23.4 percent 3-point shooting (36-154). Those numbers are a major improvement from the first four league games when the Illini allowed an average of 66.5 points (266) on 43.6 percent shooting (89-204) and 35.5 percent 3-point shooting (22-62).

• In conference games, Illinois leads the Big Ten in scoring defense (55.9) and 3-point field goal percentage defense (.269), and ranks third in field goal percentage defense (.404).

• Rich McBride has averaged 12.8 points (154) over the last 12 games after combining for just 7 points and making one 3-pointer over the previous three games. McBride scored 15 points against Iowa (Jan. 10), had a team-high 12 points at Michigan State (Jan. 14), nine points at Minnesota (Jan. 17), 15 points vs. Wisconsin (Jan. 20), a team-high 15 points vs. Indiana (Jan. 23), nine points at Purdue (Jan. 27), 12 points vs. Michigan State (Jan. 30), a team-high 13 points vs. Minnesota (Feb. 3), 15 points vs. Northwestern (Feb. 7), 13 points at Indiana (Feb. 10), a game-high 15 points vs. Northwestern (Feb. 18) and 11 points vs. Michigan on Wednesday.

• McBride is shooting 40.8 percent from 3-point range and is averaging 3.5 treys over the last 12 games (42-103).

• McBride ranks second in the Big Ten in 3-point field goals during conference play with an average of 3.1 treys per game.

Shaun Pruitt has averaged 11.2 points (101) and 8.8 rebounds (79) over the last nine games, posting double-doubles in four of those contests. Pruitt tied his career high with 19 points and had 14 rebounds vs. Wisconsin (Jan. 20), had 10 points and 13 rebounds vs. Indiana (Jan. 23), 13 points and 11 boards at Purdue (Jan. 27), 15 points and five boards vs. Michigan State (Jan. 30), 12 points and six boards vs. Minnesota (Feb. 3) and 13 points and a career-high 15 rebounds vs. Northwestern on Feb. 7.

Brian Randle has shot 65.2 percent from the field (30-46) over the last 10 games in which he has played, after making just 3-16 in the previous three games.

• Over his last 22 games, Warren Carter is averaging 14.0 points (309) and 6.5 rebounds (144). Included in that stretch have been three 20+ point performances for the senior power forward. Carter had a career-high 24 points vs. Arizona (Dec. 2), tying the highest point total by UI player this season, and 21 points vs. both IUPUI (Dec. 6) and Belmont (Dec. 17). He had the highest scoring Big Ten game of his career vs. Michigan on Wednesday with 18 points. During this stretch, Carter has been Illinois' leading scorer 10 times and has reached double figures 19 times.

Chester Frazier has averaged 7.3 rebounds (22) over the past three games.

• Rich McBride stands in fifth place in Illinois history with 204 career 3-pointers. He needs five treys to tie Luther Head for fourth on the list.

• Illinois has started seven different lineups this season. Last season, the Illini started the same lineup in 32 of 33 games and two seasons ago, Illinois had the same starting lineup in all 39 games.

• Illinois has had six players miss a combined total of 46 games so far this season due to injury (Richard Semrau-24, Brian Randle-11, Jamar Smith-6, Chester Frazier-2, Brian Carlwell-2, Warren Carter-1).

• Illinois extended its school-record streak of consecutive sell-out crowds at the Assembly Hall (16,618) to 45 against Michigan in the final home game of the season.

• Illinois won its 17th straight game over Minnesota on Feb. 3, a streak that spans the last eight-plus seasons, beginning with the 1999 Big Ten Tournament Quarterfinal. It is the longest active winning streak by any Big Ten school over a conference opponent. It also marks the longest winning streak in Illini history over a Big Ten opponent. Illinois' previous best conference winning streaks were a pair of 16-game streaks over Northwestern (1/11/47-3/5/55 & 2/4/84-3/2/91 and one 16-game streak over Wisconsin (2/12/81-1/12/89).

• Shaun Pruitt ranks third in the Big Ten in rebounding (7.4 rpg) and offensive rebounds (3.1 rpg) and is fourth in field goal percentage (.535).

• Chester Frazier ranks fourth in the Big Ten in assists with an average of 4.6 apg. He had a career-high 11 assists vs. Bradley (Nov. 25) and again vs. IUPUI (Dec. 6), and also had 10 assists vs. Florida A&M (Nov. 19).

Last Time Out: Michigan

The Illini seniors went out on a winning note in their final game at the Assembly Hall, as Illinois defeated Michigan 54-42 on Wednesday night. Illinois' defense again set the tone, holding Michigan to a season-low 42 points on 37.2 percent shooting. The Illini also forced 20 turnovers, turning those Wolverine miscues into 22 points.

Senior Warren Carter led the way with 18 points, recording his career high in conference play. Carter nailed a career-best three 3-pointers and just missed a double-double, collecting a game-high nine rebounds.

Fellow senior Rich McBride also finished in double figures with 11.

For the second straight game, no player reached double digits against the Illini defense. Ekpe Udoh led the Wolverines with eight points.

Illini Rewrite Attendance Records

A number of Illinois attendance records were broken or tied this season. There were 17 sell-out crowds at the Assembly hall, setting a school record for most sell-outs in a season.

This year also set a school record for highest total attendance in a season, with a total of 282,506 fans passing through the turnstiles.

Illinois tied its record for highest average attendance for a season, with the sell-out average of 16,618 equaling last year's record.

Illinois will carry a school-record streak of 45 consecutive sell-outs at the Assembly Hall into next season.


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