Illini hang tough, but Bates-Diop, Buckeyes too much

Leron Black

Forward Keita Bates-Diop, an IL native who is the Buckeyes' leading scorer (19.6 points per game) and rebounder (8.8 per game), insists that it doesn't matter where IL resides in the standings.

Keita Bates-Diop scored a career-high 35 points and grabbed 13 rebounds Sunday as No. 17 Ohio State overcame a 15-point first-half deficit to subdue IL 75-67 at Value City Arena in Columbus, Ohio.

Alstork, who led IL with 19 points, said he felt like the team got too complacent after reeling off 11 makes in its first 17 shot attempts.

But the script flipped in the second period as OSU freshman Emma Maltais scored 15 seconds into the period to give the Buckeyes a 1-0 lead. IL managed a pair of wins recently, but they were both at home. "It was frustrating because it's something that we've got to continue to grow from", Underwood said. "We do everything right". "We'll have to be very sharp in running our set plays, very sharp in running our motion offense". Then we fall in love with (shooting the 3).

On Saturday night, No. 1 Penn State hosts No. 2 Ohio State in what has some in the wrestling community considering it the greatest dual meet of all-time. Williams has been one of the Buckeyes' primary ball-handlers all year. Retherford gave up two early takedowns to Hayes but punished him after that with 18 straight points including four nearfalls.

IL forced 10 turnovers in the first half. He also grabbed a game-high 13 rebounds.

"Really looking forward to it, I've said it before, in my mind I'm No. 1 so every guy I go against is faceless and formless in my mind, so whoever it is I'll go out there the same", said Cassar.

The Fighting Illini, on the other hand, will go as far as the Big Ten Tournament. Both players were held to just nine points and fouled out late in the second half.

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The box score from Sunday's game doesn't make much sense. He scored all of 12 of his points in the second half to keep the Illini in the game, but it wasn't enough. Then, trailing 62-58 with six minutes left in regulation, the Buckeyes closed the game on 17-5 run to seal the victory.

"In the last minute you just have to be solid", Underwood said.

Despite the poor outings from three of Illinois' top scorers, one bright spot was Alstork. Trent Frazier is adding 11.7 points per contest.

Ohio State had built a 15-5 lead through five matches, including a pivotal tossup win at 141, which many thought dashed the Nittany Lions' hopes.

IL will return home to face Wisconsin on Thursday.

"It (stinks) it's a smaller venue and we won't have the fan support", said Martin.

"I think our guys are pretty consistent no matter where we go, whether we're wrestling matches Friday in the room or in Jersey or at home against Ohio State, we'll be the same people no matter what", said Cassar.

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