By Joseph Phillips, Crusader Sports Editor
The Illinois Fighting Illini were crowned the 2021 Big Ten Tournament Champions after earning a 91-88 overtime victory over Ohio State University on Sunday, March 14, in Indianapolis.
The Fighting Illini finished with six players in double-figures and earned their first Big Ten Tournament championship in 16 seasons.
”It was crazy, thinking about all the things we’ve accomplished and knowing how I came on my visit with coach [Brad] Underwood and I told him these are the things we can accomplish,” said Ayo Dosunmu via ESPN. “So to get up there, cut that net down and see that No. 1 seed come up there, it’s just an unreal feeling.”
Dosunmu, who finished tied with a team-high 16 points and nine rebounds, was named the Most Outstanding Player of the Big Ten Tournament.
Dosunmu received scoring help from backcourt running mate Andre Curbelo (who scored 16 points), center Kofi Cockburn (added 16), center Giorgi Bezhanishvili (added 12), guard Da’monte Williams (also added 12) and guard Trent Frazier added 10.
“It’s time to make history,” Dosunmu said via ESPN. “It’s time to dig deeper, to focus in a little more, but winning this Big Ten championship is great.
Final Score: Illinois 91, Ohio State 88.
Following Sunday’s game against the Ohio State Buckeyes, the Fighting Illini was named the No. 1 seed in their region in the NCAA Tournament.
Chicago Crusader Players of the Game:
Ayo Dosunmu, Illinois, 16 points.
Andre Curbelo, Illinois, 16 points.
Kofi Cockburn, Illinois, 16 points.