OHIO STATE BUCKEYES ROCK ILLINIOIS
MarkerMan Productions Jody Victor: Unbelievable Baby! OSU Men’s Basketball rocks Illinois with a last second 3-pointer to beat top ranked Illinois! What an event! Steve Victor, Joe Victor and I were glued to ESPN to watch this unbelievable shot over and over again! Way to Go Bucks! I’m sure the OSU campus will be celebrating this week!
Enjoy and Go BUCKS!
Here is the write up from today’s OSU website (www.osu.edu):
For the first time this season Illinois has to bounce back from a loss.
Ohio State reserve forward Matt Sylvester hit a 3-pointer with 5.1 seconds left on Sunday to hand the top-ranked Illini their first defeat, 65-64.
The Illini (29-1, 15-1) were trying to cap the Big Ten’s first unbeaten season in 29 years. Instead, they frittered away a 12-point lead in the second half and didn't score over the final 3 minutes.
Sylvester scored a career-high 25 points – eight more than his previous best. “We were in the huddle and Coach told us, 'We're not going halfway. We’re going for the win,”' Sylvester said.
First-year coach Thad Matta drew up a play in which center Terence Dials set a pick and rolled to the basket and guard Tony Stockman was used as a decoy. The Illini bit on the deception.
“As we left the huddle, Matt said, ‘I’ll make the shot’,” Matta said. “And he did.”
“We didn’t take care of the ball and they made all the plays at the end, “Illinois center Jack Ingram said. “They won it.”
It was the second straight season a team coached by Matta ended a run at perfection. Matta’s Xavier team handed Saint Joseph’s its first loss last season in the Atlantic 10 tournament.
“I’d like to be the other team just one time,” Matta said with a laugh. “I’m living for the day I’m the No. 1 team and someone else is trying to do it to us.”
The last team to reach the NCAA tournament without a loss was UNLV in 1991. On Saturday, Matta had shown his players film clips of several huge upsets and the Rebels’ loss to Duke in the national championship game that year was one of them.
The Illini led 64-58 after James Augustine’s layup with 3:23 left – but didn’t score again.
The Buckeyes ran off the next seven points, with Dials, who had 21 points, scoring on a half-hook before Sylvester drove the lane for a left-handed scoop to cut the lead to 64-62 with 1:40 remaining.
“They were loosey-goosey,” Weber said of the Buckeyes. “They didn’t quit. They’re an NCAA tournament team. Playing on their home court, they made the plays.”
With just over a minute left, Illinois’ Deron Williams drove the lane and wrapped a pass around a defender to Roger Powell, but Dials swatted the shot away to teammate Je’Kel Foster. Sylvester missed a 15-footer for the Buckeyes and then Illinois’ Luther Head misfired on a 3-pointer with 17 seconds left.
OhioState called a timeout with 12 seconds left. Foster inbounded to Brandon Fuss-Cheatham who passed to Sylvester on the right wing, in front of the OhioState bench. His quick shot seemed to surprise the Illini, nestling in the net while a capacity crowd at Value City Arena roared.
“The other day I was in the gym with Brandon and I said, ‘Wouldn’t it be unbelievable to score 25 points and hit the game-winner against Illinois?”’ Sylvester said. “This feels so good I can’t describe it.”
After a timeout, a pass was tipped out of bounds in front of the Illinois bench. The Illini had one last chance with 2.2 seconds left. Williams passed to Powell, but his hurried 3-pointer from the top of the circle was well short and off the mark.
Fans rushed the court after the buzzer sounded, snapping photos, jumping up and down and slapping the Buckeyes on the back.
Dee Brown led the Illini with 13 points, although he was rattled all day by chants of “air ball” after several errant second-half shots. He was 3-of-11 from the field and had only five points over the final 34 minutes. Powell and Head each added 12 points.
Williams, who came in averaging 12.8 points a game, was 1-of-7 from the field and finished with two points.
“They just outplayed us,” Brown said. “They deserved it.”
Foster added 10 points for OhioState, which enters this week’s Big Ten tournament as the No. 6 seed. After that, the Buckeyes will head home.
Matta was asked if the victory over Illinois makes his team’s postseason ban even more difficult to accept.
“Yeah. I thought we could win the national championship,” he joked. “And nobody’s ever going to know.”