Fifteen years ago on Sunday — Jan. 12, 2005 — coach Bruce Weber’s top-ranked Illini basketball team converted a school-record-setting 15 three-pointers in a 90-64 home victory against Penn State.
Illinois’ 17th straight win tied its best start in school history (17-0 in 1988-89). Luther Head (19 points) and Dee Brown (15) both tallied five threes against the Nittany Lions, part of a 15 of 34 barrage from behind the arc that bested UI’s 14 treys against Iowa in 1996.
Other memorable moments on this day in Illini history:
Jan. 12, 1917: Clyde Alwood and Ralf Woods scored 31 of Illinois’ 45 points in a 28-point basketball victory against Northwestern.
Jan. 12, 1942: Ray Eliot was named to replace Bob Zuppke as Illinois’ football coach.
Jan. 12, 1952: Ending former teammate Bob Richards’ 50-meet winning streak, Illini pole vaulter Don Laz soared to a 15-foot, 3-inch effort at the Washington Evening Star Games.
Jan. 12, 1953: Illinois’ stifling defense limited Northwestern to 17 of 89 shooting from the field (19.1 percent) in defeating the Wildcats, 83-58, at Huff Gym.
Jan. 12, 1971: Finishing with a game-high 31 points, Rick Howat scored Illinois’ last 10 points in its narrow 84-82 triumph against Wisconsin at the Assembly Hall.
Jan. 12, 1989: Coach Lou Henson’s Flying Illini improved their record to 14-0 with a 103-80 victory over Wisconsin. Kendall Gill (19 points), Nick Anderson (18), Lowell Hamilton (17) and Kenny Battle (17) paced Illinois.
Jan. 12, 1996: Theresa Grentz registered her first Big Ten victory as coach of the Illini women’s basketball team as UI topped Indiana, 73-63, at Huff Hall.
Jan. 12, 2002: Ninth-ranked Illinois shot 68 percent from the field, converted 28 assists on its 34 baskets and committed just 13 turnovers in a 94-70 victory over Michigan at Champaign.
Sunday: Shawn Turner, football (54)
Monday: Drew McMahon, football (35)
Tuesday: John Murray, tennis (53)
Wednesday: Shelese Arnold, softball
Thursday: Bobby Walker, football (23)
Friday: Ayo Dosunmu, basketball (20)
Saturday: Kevin Bontemps, basketball (59)
By Mike Pearson, author of Illini Legends, Lists & Lore (Third Edition now available in stores). Get more Illini birthdays, trivia and historical tidbits daily on Twitter@B1GLLL. His website is www.SportsLLL.com.