After being lauded as a defensive stopper, Chester Frazier slipped into the role of offensive hero for a little while Sunday, as Illinois held off Indiana in Bloomington for a 65-52 win.
Illinois streaked to a 21 point lead in the first half, but saw Indiana claw back to within six with just over six minutes remaining. While Illinois' offense slipped into a "road mode" that is easily identifiable by a lot of passing around the perimeter and taking buzzer-beaters against the shot clock, Chester Frazier was gearing up for a run. Frazier hit a huge three to put Illinois up nine, then made a layup with about two minutes left to make it a 12 point Illini advantage.
Frazier finished the game with nine points, seven rebounds and seven assists; not a bad offensive night for a defensive guy. Mike Davis had another double-double with 16 and 10, and Tisdale chipped in with 16 of his own.
Illinois moves to within a game and a half of Michigan State for the conference lead and the Spartans travel to Purdue on Tuesday. The Illini will play host to Penn State Wednesday, a game that looks tougher every time Penn State plays, then travel to Ohio State Sunday.
I know of no one that could have told me with a straight face that Illinois would be 21-5 right now. It has truly been a remarkable season for the Illini and the goal now has to be to build momentum and secure a top four seed for the NCAA tournament.