1977–78 Illinois Fighting Illini men's basketball team

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1977–78 Illinois Fighting Illini men's basketball
1977–78 Illinois Fighting Illini men's basketball team.jpg
Conference Big Ten Conference
Ranking
Coaches No. Not ranked
AP No. Not ranked
1977–78 record 13–14 (7–11 Big Ten)
Head coach Lou Henson
Assistant coach Tony Yates
Assistant coach Mark Bial
Assistant coach Les Wothke
MVP Audie Matthews
Captain Audie Matthews
Home arena Assembly Hall
Seasons
1977–78 Big Ten Conference men's basketball standings
Conf     Overall
Team W   L   PCT     W   L   PCT
No. 4 Michigan State 15 3   .833     25 5   .833
No. 13 Indiana 12 6   .667     21 8   .724
Minnesota 12 6   .667     17 10   .630
Michigan 11 7   .611     16 11   .593
Purdue 11 7   .611     16 11   .593
Ohio State 9 9   .500     16 11   .593
Illinois 7 11   .389     13 14   .481
Iowa 5 13   .278     12 15   .444
Northwestern 4 14   .222     8 19   .296
Wisconsin 4 14   .222     8 19   .296
Rankings from AP Poll)

The 1977–78 Illinois Fighting Illini men's basketball team represented the University of Illinois.

Regular season[edit]

The most significant recruit in the three years of Head Coach Lou Henson's tenure at Illinois came prior to the 1978-79 season. Eddie Johnson was considered to be the most significant piece to reviving the Illini basketball program, a program that had not been to a post-season tournament for 16 years. Johnson, who played at Chicago Westinghouse High School, was one of the state's top senior and a Parade Magazine All-American. During his senior year at Westinghouse, Johnson, along with teammate Mark Aguirre, became part of a team that went 29-0, losing only in the Public League Final to Wendell Phillips. Prior to choosing Illinois, Johnson visited Southern Cal, Iowa, Michigan and DePaul, but with the encouragement of assistant coach Tony Yates, he selected Illinois.

Along with Johnson, Henson recruited Mark Smith from Peoria Richwoods High School. By season's end, Smith would develop into the team's second leading scorer, finishing the season with 312 points. The team's starting lineup included Neil Bresnahan and Levi Cobb as forwards, Audie Matthews and Reno Gray at the guard positions, and Rich Adams playing center.

Team[edit]

No. Player Hometown High School Class Position
10 Reno Gray Chicago, Illinois Hales Franciscan High School Jr. Guard
12 Ken Ferdinand Urbana, Illinois Urbana High School Jr. Forward
20 Matt Meyer Manito, Illinois Foreman High School Jr. Guard
21 Steve Lanter Belleville, Illinois Mascoutah Community High School So. Guard
23 Larry Lubin Glencoe, Illinois Evanston Township High School Jr. Guard
24 Tom Gerhardt Chicago, Illinois De La Salle High School Sr. Forward
30 Rob Judson Zion, Illinois Zion-Benton High School So. Guard
31 Neil Bresnahan Oak Park, Illinois Fenwick High School So. Forward
32 Levi Cobb Chicago, Illinois Morgan Park High School So. Forward
33 Eddie Johnson Chicago, Illinois Westinghouse High School Fr. Forward
40 Rich Adams Cincinnati, Ohio Colerain High School Sr. Forward
41 Mike Jones Joliet, Illinois Joliet Central High School Fr. Guard/Forward
42 Mark Smith Peoria, Illinois Richwoods High School Fr. Forward
43 Audie Matthews (captain) Chicago Heights, Illinois Bloom High School Sr. Forward

Schedule[edit]

Source[2]

Date
time, TV
Opponent Result Record Site (attendance)
city, state
11/25/1977*
no, no
UNC Charlotte L 64-68  0-1
Assembly Hall (8,655)
Champaign, IL
11/28/1977*
no, no
Arizona W 113-107  1-1
Assembly Hall (7,356)
Champaign, IL
12/1/1977*
no, no
Southern California W 82-59  2-1
Assembly Hall (8,941)
Champaign, IL
12/3/1977*
no, no
South Carolina W 84-68  3-1
Carolina Coliseum (9,116)
Columbia, SC
12/6/1977*
no, no
Missouri
Show-Me Classic
W 96-85  4-1
Assembly Hall (6,010)
Champaign, IL
12/16/1977*
no, no
BYU W 81-74  5-1
Assembly Hall (8,612)
Champaign, IL
12/28/1977*
no, no
Washington State
Far West Classic
L 75-82  5-2
Veterans Memorial Coliseum (9,762)
Portland, OR
12/29/1977*
no, no
Oregon
Far West Classic
W 86-80  6-2
Veterans Memorial Coliseum (6,432)
Portland, OR
12/30/1977*
no, no
Washington
Far West Classic
L 68-81  6-3
Veterans Memorial Coliseum (6,542)
Portland, OR
1/5/1978
no, no
Purdue L 85-95  6-4 (0-1)
Mackey Arena (11,253)
West Lafayette, IN
1/7/1978
no, no
Indiana (#11) W 65-64  7-4 (1-1)
Assembly Hall (16,903)
Bloomington, IN
1/12/1978
no, no
Michigan State (#12) L 70-82  7-5 (1-2)
Assembly Hall (10,300)
Champaign, IL
1/14/1978
no, no
Michigan W 65-61  8-5 (2-2)
Assembly Hall (8,795)
Champaign, IL
1/19/1978
no, no
Minnesota L 66-70  8-6 (2-3)
Williams Arena (15,134)
Minneapolis, MN
1/21/1978
no, no
Northwestern W 73-64  9-6 (3-3)
Assembly Hall (9,616)
Champaign, IL
1/26/1978
no, no
Iowa W 70-61  10-6 (4-3)
Iowa Field House (11,000)
Iowa City, IA
1/30/1978
no, no
Ohio State L 84-87  10-7 (4-4)
Assembly Hall (9,285)
Champaign, IL
2/2/1978
no, no
Wisconsin W 74-71  11-7 (5-4)
Assembly Hall (7,802)
Champaign, IL
2/4/1978
no, no
Ohio State L 65-70  11-8 (5-5)
St. John Arena (13,489)
Columbus, OH
2/9/1978
no, no
Northwestern L 61-72  11-9 (5-6)
Welsh-Ryan Arena (3,268)
Evanston, IL
2/11/1978
no, no
Wisconsin L 73-80  11-10 (5-7)
Wisconsin Field House (7,802)
Madison, WI
2/16/1978
no, no
Minnesota L 69-75  11-11 (5-8)
Assembly Hall (8,098)
Champaign, IL
2/18/1978
no, no
Iowa W 77-76  12-11 (6-8)
Assembly Hall (9,441)
Champaign, IL
2/23/1978
no, no
Michigan L 96-107  12-12 (6-9)
Crisler Center (13,589)
Ann Arbor, MI
2/25/1978
no, no
Michigan State (#10) L 67-89  12-13 (6-10)
Jenison Fieldhouse (9,886)
East Lansing, MI
3/2/1978
no, no
Indiana L 68-77  12-14 (6-11)
Assembly Hall (7,222)
Champaign, IL
3/2/1978
no, no
Purdue L 67-66  13-14 (7-11)
Assembly Hall (11,938)
Champaign, IL
*Non-conference game. #Rankings from AP Poll. (#) Tournament seedings in parentheses.
All times are in Central Time.

Player stats[edit]

Player Games Played Field Goals Free Throws Rebounds Assists Blocks Steals Points
Audie Matthews[3] 27 136 55 87 50 0 12 327
Mark Smith[4] 27 111 90 163 36 7 37 312
Rich Adams[5] 27 108 58 133 37 32 25 274
Eddie Johnson[6] 27 100 20 84 16 8 11 220
Rob Judson[7] 27 76 45 49 57 1 20 197
Neil Bresnahan[8] 27 94 31 195 68 2 21 219
Reno Gray[9] 20 90 6 29 66 1 18 186
Levi Cobb[10] 27 72 28 131 23 10 17 172

Awards and honors[edit]

Team players drafted into the NBA[edit]

Round Pick Player NBA Club
4 86 Rich Adams San Antonio Spurs
6 117 Audie Matthews Detroit Pistons

[12]

Rankings[edit]

References[edit]