Senior forward Leon Jones, playing in his 104th career game, scored seven of the Wolverines' first 13 points as the Maize and Blue jumped out to an early 13-8 lead. Jones finished the game with a season-high 14 points, with a 4-of-4 effort from the free throw line in 29 minutes.
Get On Your Feet
With seven of the Michigan's first 11 points, including a Jordan-esque slam dunk, Leon Jones received a standing ovation when he came out of the game at 14:38 in the first half. It was the second consecutive game in which a Wolverine received a standing O. Herb Gibson brought the crowd to its feet during his first career start last Saturday (Feb. 2) against Wisconsin.
Leader and Best
Sophomore wing Bernard Robinson Jr. is the current Big Ten Conference leader in free throw percentage as he his shooting 87.5 percent from the line after the Illinois game. Robinson connected on 1-of-1 from the line against Illinois to bring his season total to 49-of-56.
All Alone at No. 9
With the 17th two-blocked shot performance of his career, senior center Chris Young moved into sole possession of ninth place on Michigan's career blocked shot list. The two blocks gave him 80 for his career, two more than 10th place Loy Vaught (1987-90). In addition to Young's pair of rejections, he scored eight points, all in the second half, and grabbed a team-high nine rebounds in 37 minutes of action.
He's Got the Urge
Former walk-on Herb Gibson was in the starting lineup for the second consecutive game and for the second time of his career. Gibson finished with four points, one assist, one steal and an offensive rebound against Illinois. He started last Saturday (Feb. 2) against Wisconsin and paced the Wolverines defense with three blocked shots and steal while adding four points on the offensive end.
Breaking Out Early
The Wolverines jumped out to an explosive 16-8 lead against Illinois in the first six minutes of the first frame. It marked the second straight game the Maize and Blue ran out to an early lead. Against Wisconsin (Feb. 2), the Wolverines lead 21-6 after the first 6:24 of the first frame.
Point, Counter Point
After Avery Queen was subbed out of the game with 5:30 left in the second half, the Wolverines played the remainder of the game with no point guard. Leon Jones became Michigan's man in control, with Bernard Robinson Jr., Dommanic Ingerson and Herb Gibson sharing time at the other guard spots. LaVell Blanchard and Chris Young were the men in the post.
Junior Gavin Groninger had his consecutive game streak snapped at 39 Thursday against the Illini. It was only the second time in his career that Groninger missed a game. He last missed game action against Bowling Green (Dec. 13, 2000) due to a bruised knee.
Michigan Against Brian Cook
Brian Cook was the Illini's early offensive force as he scored Illinois' first 12 points. Cook began the game shooting 5-of-10 from the field and 4-of-4 from free throw line to earn his 12 points. Luther Head ended Cook's scoring streak when he tipped in an Illini miss with 7:55 to go in the first half.