Millikin tops in CCIW in scoring, rebounding, 3-point shootingDecember 20, 2001
Location: Decatur, Illinois
Conference: College Conference
of Illinois and Wisconsin
Affiliation: NCAA Div. III
Nickname: Big Blue
Colors: Blue and white
Home arena: Griswold Gym
Head coach: Tim Littrell
Current record: 4-3
2000-01 overall record: 10-15
2000-01 CCIW record: 0-0
Starters returning: 2
Letterwinners returning: 6
At first glance
Millikin brings the top scoring and rebounding team in the College Conference of Illinois and Wisconsin to this weekend's tournament as the Big Blue aim to get back near the top of the conference standings once league play begins in January. Millikin is the second member of the CCIW to play in the McDonald's of Bluffton Holiday Tournament, as North Central visited Founders Hall last December for this event.
Head Coach Tim Littrell
Tim Littrell is in his sixth season as the head coach at Millikin University after serving as an assistant coach for the Big Blue for 18 years before that. A member of the Millikin Athletic Hall of Fame, he scored over 1,000 points as a player for MU in the mid 1970s and was the team's MVP his junior and senior season. Two years ago he guided Millikin to a 15-10 overall record and a third place finish in the CCIW.
After starting out the season 1-2, Millikin has won three of their last four games to get above the .500 mark at 4-3 (Dec. 21 result at Illinois College pending). The Big Blue will face non-league foe Webster University on Jan. 5 before beginning the CCIW portion of their schedule at North Central on Jan. 8.
Millikin has a deep bench and great balance on this year's team. Six different players have led the Big Blue in scoring in at least one game and not one player has started in all seven games. Nine different players have started at least three games this season.
And not only is Millikin deep, but they're young, too. Their three seniors rank 3rd, 10th and 11th on the team in scoring, and freshman Jason Fisher's 15.1 points per game leads the squad and ranks sixth in the CCIW. He is the league-leader in 3-pointers (4.1 3-ptrs pg) and ranks third in steals (2.0 spg). Sophomore Kin Yanders (12.7 ppg, 6.7 rpg) ranks second on the team and 11th in the CCIW in scoring and is shooting 59.1% from the field. He has scored in double figures in all but one game so far this season.
Senior Jeff Love is the third player in double figures, averaging 10.7 points per game, while junior Trey Evans (9.6 ppg) is the team's second-best 3-point shooter behind Fisher with 16 triples and has scored in double-figures in three of the last four games. Freshman guard Charles Williams (7.3 ppg, 25 assists) is among the league leaders in assists and assist-to-turnover ratio.
Millikin among CCIW's best
Millikin has gone over the 100-point mark twice this season and owns the highest scoring offense in the CCIW, averaging 87.7 points per game. The Big Blue also lead the CCIW in rebounding margin (+9.6), steals (10.7 spg) and 3-pointers made (10.4 3ptrs pg) despite having played in just seven games (two fewer than most CCIW schools). In addition, MU ranks second in free throw percentage (73.5%), third in scoring margin (+15.0) and field goal percentage defense (40.6%) and fourth in blocks (3.0 bpg), assists (15.4 apg) and field goal percentage (47.4%). Millikin is also outrebounding their opponents by 5.3 boards per game and has collected 21 more steals and 47 more assists.
Big Blue history note
Millikin Head Coach Tim Littrell owns a 66-66 career record at the helm of his alma mater. The Big Blue have three NCAA tournament appearances in their history, those coming in the 1982-83, 1987-88 and 1988-89 seasons.