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.

Roster[edit]

1977–78 Illinois Fighting Illini men's basketball team
Players Coaches
Pos. # Name Height Weight Year Previous school Hometown
G 10 Reno Gray 6 ft 2 in (1.88 m) 170 lb (77 kg) Jr Hales Franciscan High School Chicago, Illinois
F 12 Ken Ferdinand 6 ft 6 in (1.98 m) 200 lb (91 kg) Jr Urbana High School Urbana, Illinois
G 20 Matt Meyer 6 ft 0 in (1.83 m) 165 lb (75 kg) Jr Foreman High School Mantino, Illinois
G 21 Steve Lanter 6 ft 4 in (1.93 m) 175 lb (79 kg) RS So Mascoutah Community High School Belleville, Illinois
G 23 Larry Lubin 6 ft 0 in (1.83 m) 175 lb (79 kg) Jr New Trier High School Glencoe, Illinois
F 24 Tom Gerhardt 6 ft 6 in (1.98 m) 210 lb (95 kg) Sr De La Salle High School Chicago, Illinois
G 30 Rob Judson 6 ft 2 in (1.88 m) 170 lb (77 kg) So Zion-Benton High School Zion, Illinois
F 31 Neil Bresnahan 6 ft 6 in (1.98 m) 200 lb (91 kg) So Fenwick High School Oak Park, Illinois
F 32 Levi Cobb 6 ft 6 in (1.98 m) 205 lb (93 kg) So Morgan Park High School Chicago, Illinois
F 33 Eddie Johnson 6 ft 7 in (2.01 m) 210 lb (95 kg) Fr Westinghouse High School Chicago, Illinois
F 40 Rich Adams 6 ft 9 in (2.06 m) 205 lb (93 kg) Sr Colerain High School Cincinnati, Ohio
G/F 41 Mike Jones 6 ft 4 in (1.93 m) 185 lb (84 kg) Fr Joliet Central High School Joliet, Illinois
F 42 Mark Smith 6 ft 7 in (2.01 m) 195 lb (88 kg) Fr Richwoods High School Peoria, Illinois
F 42 Rick Leighty 6 ft 7 in (2.01 m) 195 lb (88 kg) Fr Richwoods High School Peoria, Illinois
G/F 43 Audie Matthews (C) 6 ft 5 in (1.96 m) 185 lb (84 kg) Sr Bloom High School Chicago Heights, Illinois
Head coach
Assistant coach(es)

Legend
  • (C) Team captain
  • (S) Suspended
  • (I) Ineligible
  • (W) Walk-on

All-Time Illini Roster

Source[1] [2]

Schedule[edit]

Source[3]

Date
time, TV
Opponent Result Record Site (attendance)
city, state
Non-Conference regular season
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
Big Ten regular season
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)
Rivalry
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)
McGaw Memorial Hall (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
Rivalry
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 Minutes Played Field Goals Free Throws Rebounds Assists Blocks Steals Points
Audie Matthews[4] 27 780 136 55 87 50 0 12 327
Mark Smith[5] 27 680 111 90 163 36 7 37 312
Rich Adams[6] 27 618 108 58 133 37 32 25 274
Eddie Johnson[7] 27 469 100 20 84 16 8 11 220
Rob Judson[8] 27 605 76 45 49 57 1 20 197
Neil Bresnahan[9] 27 670 94 31 195 68 2 21 219
Reno Gray[10] 20 434 90 6 29 66 1 18 186
Levi Cobb[11] 27 610 72 28 131 23 10 17 172
Mike Jones 27 232 35 2 16 20 2 8 72
Ken Ferdinand 15 80 13 5 18 2 2 2 31
Larry Lubin 17 112 8 8 9 19 0 6 24
Tom Gerhardt 21 105 4 2 22 3 0 1 10
Matt Meyer 6 5 0 0 1 1 0 0 0

Awards and honors[edit]

Team players drafted into the NBA[edit]

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

[13]

Rankings[edit]

References[edit]