CHICAGO (WCIA) — Kipper Nichols and Trent Frazier each scored a game high 18 points a piece but Illinois fell 77-67 to Ohio State Wednesday night at the United Center. The Illini (2-7, 0-2 B1G) led by four at halftime but couldn’t contain the Buckeyes attack led by Keyshawn Woods, who scored 12 of his 18 points in the second half.
Frazier went down late in the game in a foul fest game that saw 48 combined whistles, the most for an Illini game this season. The sophomore point guard landed on his back and laid on the base line in pain for several minutes before being helped off the court.
“I had a horrible feeling in my stomach because I saw the look on his face,” Illinois head coach Brad Underwood said.
Frazier somehow returned to the game a few minutes later after leaving the bench.
“I thought there were great officials on the court that’s the best we have,” Underwood said in jest. “I loved everyone of them and every call that they made and we’ll have them next time and they’ll be great again.”
It was a breakout game for Nichols, a new season high for the redshirt junior. He’s had back-to-back games with double-digit scoring.
“Just continuing to trust the process and believing in the big guy right here,” says Nichols. “You know just listening to everything that he tells me to do.”
Missed buckets around the rim really hurt the Illini chances, something that stuck out to Underwood after the game. As a team, the Illinois shot just 32 percent for the game.
“We missed 13 layups today in the second half,” Underwood said. “I felt like the opportunities and the shots we got were really good ones.”
Underwood went on to say that he’s a quote fighter and has faith the rebuilding process is as strong as it’s ever been, even with a now 2-7 record.