Men's Basketball

Buckeyes Hold Off Illini In Battle Of Bizarre Streaks

Keita Bates-Diop Ohio State Basketball Buckeyes

Maybe it was the noon tipoff. Maybe it was the fallout from the suspension of senior guard Kam Williams earlier in the morning. Maybe they were looking ahead to their upcoming showdown with Purdue.

Whatever the reason, Ohio State came out of the locker room lethargically on Sunday and looked like they were in serious trouble against an Illinois team that came in with just a 2-8 Big Ten record.

The Illini capitalized on a hot shooting streak and six early Buckeye turnovers to tear off an 11-0 run. They built a 30-15 lead with 10:11 left before halftime. Then, as quickly as the Buckeyes had fallen face-first into a big hole, they dug themselves out.

It started with a layup from Jae’Sean Tate, and then OSU star Keita Bates-Diop took over.

Keita Bates-Diop throws down a monster dunk during the Buckeyes’ first half run.

He threw down a dunk, hit a pair of free throws, tipped one in, hit a 3-pointer off a nice transition dish from Tate, and then threw down another dunk. Just like that, Illinois’ 15-point lead was down to 2.

Tate hit a layup to even the score at 30, then Kaleb Wesson closed out the half with four straight points.

While all this was happening, Illinois was creating new and innovative ways to not score. The Illini, who scored 30 points in the first 9:49 of the game, then failed to put a single point on the board for the next 11:51 of action. No jumpers, no layups, no 3-pointers, no free throws. Nothing.

OSU ripped off a 20-0 run to turn that 30-15 hole into a 35-30 lead.

But if the Buckeyes thought they would be able to cruise to an easy win from there, they were wrong. Once the Illini remembered how to score, they started doing it consistently again.

Freshman guard Trent Frazier scored 12 points, all in the second half, the help the Illini start a 12-2 run. They had a 56-52 lead at the under-8 minute timeout, and the Buckeyes seemed to be in real danger of suffering an almost inexplicable loss.

But as he had all day, Bates-Diop was there to pull the Buckeyes through. He drained a 3-pointer to tie the game again at 63-all with five minutes to play to start a 10-0 Buckeye run. He finished with a double-double of 35 points and 13 rebounds.

Kaleb Wesson gave OSU the lead for good on a layup with 3:39 to play, and the Bucks hit their free throws down the stretch to escape with a 75-67 win. OSU improved to 11-1 in conference play and 20-5 overall.

They will return to the court Wednesday evening for a showdown with first-place Purdue at Mackey Arena.

[Photos courtesy]



One Response

  1. KBD is a wonderful player. Would love to know what Williams screwed up to be suspended. Good luck vs Purdue!

Comments are closed.