IL upset bid against Ohio State falls short


Ohio State limited Michigan State to 29 first-half points in a win last Saturday and jumped to a 20-5 lead in the first 6:08 Wednesday of a 30-point win over Penn State. In his first year as coach, Brad Underwood is simply hoping to avoid embarrassments and build his program.

Ohio State will face IL on Sunday afternoon as the fight to stay near the top of the Big Ten continues. "Keita (Bates-Diop) has had an incredible year". You put him with (Jae'Sean) Tate and those are two really, really good wings. A key match went to the Nittany Lions at 174 when returning NCAA champion Mark Hall knocked off Bo Jordan, 6-4, and OSU's lead was cut to 15-12.

The loss snapped a two-game winning streak for the Illini (12-12, 2-9), who have yet to come away with a road victory this season.

Last year, Bates-Diop missed the Buckeyes' final eight games with a stress fracture in his left leg.

"We're aware. I'm pretty sure our team has the ESPN app and gets notifications, but we can't focus on that", Harper said. We have some things we need to work on. "That's why he's a vital, vital part of what we do".

Frazier has also been on a tear lately. Ohio State is 12-1, 7-1 B1G.

Though Ohio State has many prolific weapons, UW has some offensive talent as well.

"Once I got out there, I just felt very present and calm and once I got the first takedown I knew he wasn't getting in on my legs and if I wanted to score, I could", Cassar said. He leads the Big Ten in 3-point shooting during conference play (52.2 percent), and is No. 8 in field goal percentage (59 percent) during league play.

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IL led 63-60 with just more than five minutes to go in the game, but Bates-Diop started a 10-0 run by making a 3-pointer, and OSU did not trail again.

While the Illini have relied heavily on their freshman, it has been the opposite for the Buckeyes.

Ohio State had a 16-0 run in the first quarter that included a Mitchell 3-pointer that broke her tie with former Tennessee-Martin player Heather Butler for the most consecutive Division-I games with a trey.

After losing six straight, IL has put together back-to-back wins over IN and Rutgers.

The Illini are ranked second in the Big Ten with 7.5 steals per game, and have forced a turnover on 24.5 percent of their opponents' possessions. The Lions led 19-15 but Nick Nevills had to fend off Ohio State star Kyle Snyder, the No. 1 big man in the country and an Olympic champ.

"Went out there and, just in my head, tried to stay present, " said Cassar, now 14-2.

IL has had a rough go of it this season, featuring a 12-11 record while going just 2-8 in their Big Ten schedule.