STATE COLLEGE, PA. (WCIA) — With the win over Penn State on Tuesday, the Illini have now won four Big Ten games on the road this season. That’s tied for the most in the conference with Maryland and these Nittany Lions. After the game, Ayo Dosunmu was quick to thank the Penn State crowd for a little added juice.
“They was talking to me,” Dosunmu said after scoring a game high 24 points. “The players was talking to me, the crowd was talking to me, I like that, that gets me going, I like it. I like when players talk to me, I like when the crowd talks to me so when I get in that mode where they talking to me it’s like the rim just gets bigger and bigger.”
The talk back fired on the Penn State fans, as many hit the exits early as he put the game on ice.
It’s the fifth time this season that Dosunmu has hit a shot in the final minute of a one possession win, three of those five have been on the road. But none bigger than this one.
“It’s up there,” he said. “Four game losing streak, top-ten team in the country, No. 9, they won eight in a row, on their home court. Reading tweets, seeing all the blogs, no one expected us to win this game so coming out and winning this game, it’s at the top of the list.”
“Right there at the top,” Underwood said when asked about where Ayo’s performance ranks on his list. “That’s a Top 10 team he did that against, on the road. And a team that’s really had our number in the last few games. Absolutely, that’s right there at the top.”
The win is the first against Penn State since January 2015, and the first in Happy Valley since Febraury 2014. But in the here and now, it breaks a four game losing streak. The Illini were slipping closer and closer to the bubble, but don’t think for a second they were desperate.
“We’re not desperate,” Illinois head coach Brad Underwood said. “I think there was some urgency, no doubt about that, but desperate is never in my vocabulary.”
“We all just came together, coaching staff and players, know how big road wins are,” Illinois junior Da’Monte Williams said “We just came out and gave it our all and got another one.”
The Illini alternate between home and road games from here on out. The only two games left away from the State Farm Center are at Northwestern and Ohio State. As of Tuesday night, Illinois sits in a five-way tie for third in the Big Ten standings, alongside Iowa, Rutgers, Michigan State and Wisconsin.