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Thursday, Dec. 11

Illini vs. Maryland-Eastern Shore notes     Send a link to a friend

[DEC. 11, 2003]  CHAMPAIGN -- Game 7 for Illini menís basketball: No. 14/14 Illinois (4-2) versus Maryland-Eastern Shore (0-1), 7 p.m. Central time Thursday, Dec. 11, at the Assembly Hall (16,450). No TV.

Probable starters

F, 40 -- James Augustine (So., 6-10, 225, 11.3 ppg, 10.2 rpg)

F, 43 -- Roger Powell (Jr., 6-6, 220, 14.7 ppg, 5.3 rpg)

C, 45 -- Nick Smith (Jr.-r, 7-2, 240, 6.8 ppg, 4.7 rpg)

G, 5 -- Deron Williams (So., 6-3, 210, 14.2 ppg, 3.7 rpg, 7.0 apg)

G, 11 -- Dee Brown (So., 6-0, 175, 13.7 ppg, 2.8 rpg, 4.3 apg)

Off the bench

C, 1 -- Aaron Spears (Fr.-r, 6-9, 260, 3.5 ppg, 1.5 rpg)

G, 4 -- Luther Head (Jr., 6-3, 175, 7.8 ppg, 2.0 rpg)

G, 25 -- Jerrance Howard (Sr.-r, 6-1, 200, 1.0 ppg, 1.0 rpg)

G, 33 -- Richard McBride (Fr., 6-3, 210, 0.0 ppg, 1.0 rpg)

F, 41 -- Warren Carter (Fr., 6-9, 205, 4.3 ppg, 2.0 rpg)

F, 42 -- Brian Randle (Fr., 6-8, 200, 5.0 ppg, 2.5 rpg)

C, 50 -- Jack Ingram (Jr.-r, 6-10, 240, 3.7 ppg, 3.8 rpg)

Illinois coaching

Head coach: Bruce Weber; overall record 107-56, .656 (sixth year); Big Ten 0-0; at Illinois 4-2 (first year); first meeting versus Maryland-Eastern Shore

Assistant coaches: Chris Lowery (first year), Wayne McClain (third year), Jay Price (first year)

Assistant to the head coach: Gary Nottingham (first year)

Trainer: Al Martindale (21st year at Illinois)

Maryland-Eastern Shore coaching

Head coach: Thomas Trotter; overall record 28-58 (fourth season); at UMES 28-58; first meeting versus Illinois

Assistant coaches: Paris Parham, Brian Kusnierz, Steve Golston

Home cookin'

Illinois is 41-1 (.976) at the Assembly Hall over the last three-plus years, with the only loss coming to Michigan State in 2002. ... Since then, the Illini have won 19 straight at home. ... Illinois is 53-2 (.964) at home over the past four-plus seasons, the best home record in the nation over that period. Ö The Illini have won 28 in a row at the Assembly Hall against non-conference opponents.

Big Ten leaders

* Sophomore James Augustine (.667) and Roger Powell (.648) rank second and fourth, respectively, in field goal percentage in the Big Ten.

* Roger Powell ranks ninth (14.7 avg.), Deron Williams 10th (14.2) and Dee Brown (13.7) 12th in scoring.

* Williams ranks first in assists (7.0 avg.), while Brown is seventh (4.3 avg.).

* Augustine ranks second in rebounding (10.2 avg.).

* Williams leads in free-throw percentage (12-13, .923).

* Williams ranks seventh in steals (1.83 avg.).

* Augustine ranks ninth in blocked shots (1.17 avg.).

* Brown leads Big Ten with 2.67 3-pt. field goals per game, while Williams is sixth (1.83 avg.).

* Illinois leads the Big Ten in scoring (79.7 ppg), assists (19.33 avg.) and field goal percentage (.484).

* Illinois ranks third in rebounding margin (plus 6.5), second in offensive rebounding (15.2 avg.), third in 3-point field goals (5.8 avg.) and third in assist-turnover ratio (1.23).

Top 25 streak continues

Illinois is ranked 14th in the current (Dec. 8) ESPN/USA Today Coaches' Poll, extending its streak to 63 consecutive polls in which the Illini have been ranked. Illinois is also ranked No. 14 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 never dropped out of the Coaches' Top 25 the last three-plus seasons.

Last time out

Illinois played perhaps its worst game in several seasons in dropping a 70-51 decision to Providence at Madison Square Garden Tuesday in the Jimmy V Classic. The Illini led 30-26 at halftime but were outscored by the Friars 46-21 in the second half, with Illinois shooting just 31 percent from the field in the second half. For the game, Illinois shot a season-low 41.1 percent and committed a season-high 22 turnovers. James Augustine turned in another strong performance with 16 points and 11 rebounds.

Williams showcases all-around game -- he scores, he defends, he distributes the ball

Guard Deron Williams has been turning heads with his sensational play to start his sophomore season. Williams is second on the team in scoring (14.2 ppg) and has scored in double figures in five of six games, setting a career high in points in three consecutive games up to the Arkansas game and setting a career high with 10 assists against the Razorbacks. His scoring average so far is eight points better than his freshman scoring average of 6.3 points. He scored a career-high 22 points versus North Carolina and is shooting 46 percent from the field (31-67) and 39 percent from 3-point land (11-28). 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 42 (7.0 apg), handing out eight assists in the season opener versus Western Illinois and again against North Carolina, before dropping 10 dimes against Arkansas.

 

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Brown named Big Ten Preseason Player of the Year

Sophomore guard Dee Brown, nicknamed the "One-Man Fast Break," was named the Big Ten's Preseason Player of the Year by the media and was named to the preseason all-Big Ten squad by both the media and coaches. Wisconsin's Devin Harris was the preseason player of the year as voted by the coaches. Brown was also named to the 12-man Playboy Magazine all-America squad and is one of 50 players on the Wooden Award all-America preseason watch list. Brown is the fourth-consecutive Illini to earn league preseason player of the year honors, following Cory Bradford in 2001, Frank Williams in 2002 and Brian Cook in 2003.

Brown is currently third on the team in scoring at 13.7 points per game. He also ranks second in assists with 4.3 per game. Brown leads the Big Ten in 3-pointers per game with an average of 2.7.

Last year, he earned second-team all-Big Ten honors from the media, third-team honors from the coaches and earned a spot on the first-ever Big Ten all-freshman team. Brown was second on the team in scoring, averaging 12.0 points. He led the Big Ten in assists with 4.97 per game and also led the league with an assist-turnover ratio of 2.56. He ranked 18th in the Big Ten in scoring at 12.0 points per game. One of the quickest guards in America, Brown's 1.78 steals per game led the team and ranked third in the Big Ten. In Big Ten Conference games only, Brown totaled 76 assists with only 25 turnovers, leading the conference with an assist-turnover ratio of 3.04 in league play.

Back-to-back double-doubles vs. Mercer and Temple for Powell

Junior Roger Powell recorded the first double-double of his Illinois career against Mercer on Nov. 26, scoring 16 points and grabbing a career-high 10 rebounds. What better way to follow up that performance than with another double-double in his next outing versus Temple? Powell scored 19 points and matched his career high with 10 boards. He then scored a season-high 20 points against North Carolina Dec. 2.

Powell leads the team in scoring and is second in rebounding, averaging 14.7 points and 5.3 rebounds. He is shooting 65 percent from the field (35-54) and is second among the Illini with 16 offensive rebounds.

Last year in Big Ten play, Powell led the league in field goal shooting at 64.1 percent and was named to the Big Ten all-tournament team after helping the Illini to the title.

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 11.3 points and 10.2 rebounds per game. He is shooting 67 percent (30-45) from the field and leads the team with 22 offensive rebounds in six games. Augustine has scored at least nine points in each game and has had at least nine boards in five of six 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 junior, moved into the starting lineup in the third game of the season and is averaging 6.8 points and 4.7 rebounds. He has scored in double figures in three games, with season highs of 13 against Western Illinois and Mercer. Smith had a 10-point performance versus 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 four of six 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.

Future Coach Howard?

Senior Jerrance Howard, who returned in 2003-04 for his fifth year, hopes to break into coaching after his eligibility is finished this season. While at Illinois, he has played under three coaches: Lon Kruger, Bill Self and Bruce Weber.

More information

For the complete Illini news release in PDF format, click here.  [To download the Adobe Acrobat reader for the PDF file, click here.]

[Kent Brown, assistant athletics director,
sports information director,
University of Illinois]

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