Surprising Ohio State faces IL next

Pickin' the Big Ten: Feb. 2-3

Notre Dame Meets No. 22 Ohio State

Ohio State trailed Big Ten leader Purdue by one game before Purdue's game against Rutgers on Saturday.

The Buckeyes travel to Purdue, which is unbeaten in the Big Ten, on Wednesday.

The Michigan State hockey team dropped the first of a two game series with No. 5 Ohio State, 4-2, on Friday night at Value City Arena in Columbus.

"When we get in trouble, we quit passing". "I feel like we can play with anybody in the nation".

Chris Holtmann's Buckeyes now sit at 19-5 on the season, with a 10-1 record in the Big Ten. Ohio State opened up a six-point lead over third-place Wisconsin after sweeping MI last weekend and the Buckeyes still sit 11 points behind Notre Dame.

February could be challenging.

After an offensive lull, the Fighting Illini have picked it up over the last three games, with at least 73 in each one. The senior guard is the Big Ten's all-time leading scorer for both male and female with over 3,000 career points, and is only four assists away from reaching the 500 mark. IL managed a pair of wins recently, but they were both at home. "They told me that they need me to be free and play and be who I am and so I wanted to go out there and show them that I was listening". "I never want to take that for granted, so to have a little bit of a hiccup with a guy who's really been a big part of it - he's been an important part of it - I think is frustrating and disappointing. They have very few weaknesses that you can identify".

Despite that, a four-point deficit at the half had IL feeling like it was still in the game even after one of its roughest stretches of the season.

"(We) just prepare the same way every game", he said.

Tomasello held onto the big lead through the third period, rolling to a 21-12 major, but a late escape and near-reversal in the final seconds kept the Rec Hall crowd on its feet. On offense, they were led by Kipper Nichols, whose 19 points was his second-highest total of the season.

"Listen, this is special what this group is doing right now".

"It's a game that you have to maintain possession of the puck and if you don't, you end up playing in your end which is what we did the second period". OSU finishes the regular season with four of six games on the road, starting with the trip to West Lafayette, Ind. As a unit they shot over 56 percent from the field while forcing an impressive 25 turnovers.

Mark Alstork paced IL with 19 points, and Trent Frazier chipped in 12.

Looking towards Saturday's game, UW must not only defend the dominant OSU trio, but it likely must also rebound the Buckeyes.

But No. 1 Penn State wanted to find a way not to disappoint 6,699 fans at full throat, and to maintain that ranking and preserve that 43-match winning streak, and Anthony Cassar had the simple answer - just knock off the No. 1 guy in the country at 197pounds.

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