1988–89 Illinois Fighting Illini men's basketball team

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1988–89 Illinois Fighting Illini men's basketball
Fighting Illini logo.svg
Illini Classic, Champion
Rainbow Classic, Champion [1]
Conference Big Ten Conference
Ranking
Coaches #3
AP #3
1988–89 record 31–5 (14–4 Big Ten)
Head coach Lou Henson
Assistant coach Dick Nagy
Assistant coach Jimmy Collins
Assistant coach Mark Coomes
MVP Nick Anderson
Captain Kenny Battle
Lowell Hamilton
Home arena Assembly Hall
Seasons
« 1987–88 1989–90 »
1988–89 Big Ten Conference men's basketball standings
Conf     Overall
Team W   L   PCT     W   L   PCT
#8 Indiana 15 3   .833     27 8   .771
#3 Illinois 14 4   .778     31 5   .861
#10 Michigan 12 6   .667     30 7   .811
#14 Iowa 10 8   .556     23 10   .697
Minnesota 9 9   .500     19 12   .613
Wisconsin 8 10   .444     18 12   .600
Purdue 8 10   .444     15 16   .484
Ohio State 6 12   .333     19 15   .559
Michigan State 6 12   .333     18 15   .545
Northwestern 2 16   .111     9 19   .321
Rankings from AP Poll)

The 1988–89 Illinois Fighting Illini men's basketball team represented the University of Illinois.

Regular season[edit]

The 1988-89 team may have been the most talented team ever assembled at the University of Illinois. The team was so athletic that they could "run and alley-oop" baskets using even the non-starting players, and a record number of 100+ game scores reflected this fact. The players known as the “Flying Illini,” included all the important pieces from the 1987-88 squad (Kenny Battle, Kendall Gill, Steve Bardo, Lowell Hamilton, Nick Anderson and Larry Smith) as well as junior college All-American P.J. Bowman and former high school All-American Marcus Liberty. The Fighting Illini won their first 16 games and were ranked No. 2 in the nation going into a nationally televised game against Georgia Tech, whom Illinois had already beaten, 80-75, at the Rainbow Classic in December. The Yellow Jackets led, 47-31, but Illinois managed to surge back to force overtime, eventually needing two extra periods to win the game. Along with the No. 1 ranking the next day came some bad news. Illinois’ catalyst, Gill, had broken a bone in his foot and would miss the next 12 games. Hurt by the loss of Gill, Illinois lost three of the next four games and its No. 1 ranking. The Illini rallied to finish second in the Big Ten with a 14-4 record and with Gill back in the lineup, the Illini were awarded a No. 1 seed in the Midwest Region of the NCAA Tournament. After rolling to victories over McNeese State and Ball State at the Hoosier Dome, a powerpacked regional in Minneapolis with Missouri, Louisville and Syracuse, stood in the way of Illinois’ trip to the Final Four. Louisville fell victim to Illinois, losing 83-69, which set up a regional final matchup with Syracuse. The Fighting Illini held off Syracuse to advance to the Final Four in Seattle where Illinois faced Michigan, a team it had beaten twice already in conference play, in the national semifinals. Michigan was inspired by the firing of their coach prior to the tournament, and won a game that contained 33 lead changes.[2] Despite Battle’s 29-point, 11-rebound effort, Illinois fell to eventual national-champion Michigan, 83-81.

Team[edit]

No. Player Hometown High School Class Position
10 P.J. Bowman Champaign, Illinois Centennial High School Jr. Guard
13 Kendall Gill Matteson, Illinois Rich Central High School Jr. Guard
20 Eddie Manzke Orland Park, Illinois Marist High School Sr. Guard
22 Lou Aguilera Madison, Connecticut Daniel Hand High School Fr. Guard
23 Larry Smith Alton, Illinois Alton High School Jr. Guard
24 Ervin Small Chicago, Illinois Simeon High School Jr. Forward
25 Nick Anderson Chicago, Illinois Simeon High School Jr. Guard/Forward
30 Marcus Liberty Chicago, Illinois King High School So. Forward
32 Brian O'Connell Schaumburg, Illinois Schaumburg High School Jr. Forward
33 Kenny Battle (captain) Aurora, Illinois West Aurora High School Sr. Forward
34 Andy Kaufmann Jacksonville, Illinois Jacksonville High School Fr. Forward
35 Stephen Bardo Carbondale, Illinois Carbondale Community High School Jr. Guard/Forward
40 Mike MacDonald Streamwood, Illinois Streamwood High School Sr. Forward
42 Mark Shapland Monticello, Illinois Monticello High School Sr. Guard/Forward
45 Lowell Hamilton (captain) Chicago, Illinois Providence St. Mel High School Sr. Forward/Center

Schedule[edit]

Source[4]

Date Opponent# Rank# Site


Result Attendance Record
11/26/1988* vs. Illinois-Chicago #9 Assembly HallChampaign, IL W 85-59  13,800 1-0
11/29/1988* vs. Metro State #7 Assembly Hall • Champaign, IL W 86-55  13,911 2-0
12/3/1988* vs. Mississippi #7 Assembly Hall • Champaign, IL W 91-79  14,386 3-0
12/6/1988* vs. Florida (#19) #7 Assembly Hall • Champaign, IL W 97-67  15,020 4-0
12/9/1988* vs. Duquesne #7 Assembly Hall • Champaign, IL
(Illini Classic)
W 112-81  14,532 5-0
12/10/1988* vs. Arkansas-Little Rock #7 Assembly Hall • Champaign, IL
(Illini Classic)
W 107-88  14,887 6-0
12/17/1988* @ Tennessee Tech #6 Assembly Hall • Champaign, IL W 105-77  12,794 7-0
12/19/1988* vs. Missouri (#10) #6 St. Louis ArenaSt. Louis, MO
(Braggin' Rights)
W 87-84  18,561 8-0
12/22/1988* @ Louisiana State #5 Pete Maravich Assembly CenterBaton Rouge, LA W 127-100  14,192 9-0
12/28/1988* vs. Tulsa #4 Neal S. Blaisdell CenterHonolulu, HI
(Rainbow Classic)
W 54-56  3,173 10-0
12/29/1988* vs. Georgia Tech (#17) #4 Neal S. Blaisdell Center • Honolulu, HI
(Rainbow Classic)
W 80-75  5,775 11-0
12/28/1988* @ Hawaii #4 Neal S. Blaisdell Center • Honolulu, HI
(Rainbow Classic)
W 96-87  6,379 12-0
1/7/1989 vs. Michigan State #3 Assembly Hall • Champaign, IL W 71-54  16,497 13-0 (1-0)
1/12/1989 vs. Wisconsin #2 Assembly Hall • Champaign, IL W 103-80  14,433 14-0 (2-0)
1/14/1989 vs. Michigan (#6) #2 Assembly Hall • Champaign, IL W 96-84  14,499 15-0 (3-0)
1/19/1989 @ Northwestern #2 Welsh-Ryan ArenaEvanston, IL W 75-70  8,117 16-0 (4-0)
1/22/1989* vs. Georgia Tech #2 Assembly Hall • Champaign, IL W 103-92 2OT 16,561 17-0
1/26/1989 @ Minnesota #1 Williams ArenaMinneapolis, MN L 62-69  13,766 17-1 (4-1)
1/28/1989 vs. Indiana (#16) #1 Assembly Hall • Champaign, IL W 75-65  16,563 18-1 (5-1)
2/2/1989 @ Purdue #2 Mackey ArenaWest Lafayette, IN L 72-76  14,123 18-2 (5-2)
2/5/1989 @ Iowa (#9) #2 Iowa Field HouseIowa City, IA L 82-86  15,500 18-3 (5-3)
2/9/1980 vs. Ohio State (#16) #7 Assembly Hall • Champaign, IL W 62-60  16,439 19-3 (6-3)
2/11/1989 vs. Northwestern #7 Assembly Hall • Champaign, IL W 86-69  16,471 20-3 (7-3)
2/16/1989 @ Michigan State #5 Jenison Fieldhouse
(East Lansing, MI)
W 75-56  10,004 21-3 (8-3)
2/18/1989 @ Wisconsin #5 Wisconsin Field HouseMadison, WI L 52-72  11,886 21-4 (8-4)
2/20/1989 vs. Purdue #5 Assembly Hall • Champaign, IL W 102-75  16,415 22-4 (9-4)
2/26/1989 @ Ohio State #10 St. John ArenaColumbus, OH W 94-71  13,276 23-4 (10-4)
3/2/1989 vs. Minnesota #8 Assembly Hall • Champaign, IL W 63-58  16,455 24-4 (11-4)
3/5/1989 vs. Indiana (#3) #8 Assembly HallBloomington, IN W 70-67  17,311 25-4 (12-4)
3/8/1989 vs. Iowa (#15) #4 Assembly Hall • Champaign, IL W 118-94  16,552 26-4 (13-4)
3/11/1989 @ Michigan (#8) #4 Crisler CenterAnn Arbor, MI W 89-73  13,609 27-4 (14-4)
NCAA Tournament
3/16/1989* vs. McNeese State #3 RCA DomeIndianapolis, IN
(NCAA Division I Tournament)
W 77-71  37,242 28-4
3/18/1989* vs. Ball State (#18) #3 RCA Dome • Indianapolis, IN
(NCAA Division I Tournament)
W 72-60  37,444 29-4
3/24/1989* vs. Louisville (#12) #3 Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome • Minneapolis, MN
(NCAA Division I Tournament)
W 83-69  33,560 30-4
3/26/1989* vs. Syracuse (#7) #3 Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome • Minneapolis, MN
(NCAA Division I Tournament)
W 89-69  33,469 31-4
4/1/1989* vs. Michigan (#10) #3 KingdomeSeattle, WA
(NCAA Division I Tournament)
L 81-83  39,187 31-5
*Non-conference game. #Rankings from AP Poll. All times are in Central Time.

Player stats[edit]

Player Games Played Field Goals Three Pointers Free Throws Rebounds Assists Blocks Steals Points
Nick Anderson [5] 36 262 24 99 285 72 32 57 647
Kenny Battle [6] 36 218 9 151 174 64 13 89 596
Lowell Hamilton[7] 36 219 0 50 204 24 31 21 488
Kendall Gill[8] 24 143 38 46 70 91 6 51 370
Marcus Liberty[9] 36 120 6 57 141 42 10 38 303
Stephen Bardo [10] 36 94 29 76 144 148 8 34 293
Larry Smith[11] 36 66 3 40 73 157 5 28 175
P.J. Bowman[12] 29 28 22 9 28 26 1 7 87
Ervin Small[13] 36 26 0 27 76 5 0 10 77
Andy Kaufmann[14] 12 16 5 14 20 8 1 5 51
Mike MacDonald[15] 23 7 0 1 10 1 0 1 15
Brian O'Connell[16] 4 1 0 2 3 0 0 0 4
Eddie Manzke[17] 18 0 0 1 2 0 0 0 1

NCAA basketball tournament[edit]

  • Midwest
    • Illinois 77, McNeese State 71
    • Illinois 72, Ball State 60
    • Illinois 83, Louisville 69
    • Illinois 89, Syracuse 86
  • Final Four
    • Michigan 83, Illinois 81

[19]

Awards and honors[edit]

Team players drafted into the NBA[edit]

Round Pick Player NBA Club
1 11 Nick Anderson Orlando Magic
2 27 Kenny Battle Detroit Pistons

[21]

Rankings[edit]

References[edit]