Feb. 7, 2003

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Opponent No. 16 Illinois
Site Assembly Hall (16,500)
Game Time 1 p.m. (EST)
Local TV WBNS 10 TV
TV Talent Gus Johnson (P-by-P), Clark Kellogg (Color)
Radio OSU Radio Network (63 stations)
Local Radio WBNS FM-97.1 AM-1460
Radio Talent Paul Keels (P-by-P), Ron Stokes (Color)

Ohio State Buckeyes
Probable Starters (11-9, 4-5)

G 4 – Brent Darby, 6-1, Sr.
G 3 – Sean Connolly, 6-5, Sr.
G 40 – Matt Sylvester, 6-7, So.
C 50 – Shun Jenkins, 6-6, Jr.
F 33 – Zach Williams, 6-7, Jr.

No. 16 Illinois Fighting Illini
Probable Starters (15-4, 5-3)

G 11 – Dee Brown, 5-11, Fr.
G 5 – Deron Williams, 6-4, Fr.
G 4 – Luther Head, 6-3, So.
F 34 – Brian Cook, 6-10, Sr.
F 40 – James Augustine, 6-10, Fr.

Connolly 10 away from 1,000 Career Pts.
Ohio State senior Sean Connolly needs 10 points to reach 1,000 for his collegiate career. He scored 330 as a freshman at Providence College before making the move to Ohio State. In three seasons as a Buckeye he has scored 660 points to give him a career total of 990 heading into the game at Illinois.

Illinois Lead in All-Time Series
Ohio State has won 59 games in the series with Illinois with the Illini claiming victory in 95 contests. Ohio State has won four of the last five games, including a pair last season. Ohio State is 21-56 in Champaign and 38-37 in Columbus. The teams have met twice at neutral sites, both times in the Big Ten tournament. In the 2002 league tournament, the Buckeyes secured a 94-88 victory sending Ohio State to the title game against Iowa. Illinois’ last win was an 83-68 victory in Champaign Feb. 22, 2001. Ohio State is 10-29 against ranked Illinois teams. Illinois was ranked No. 10 in Ohio State’s win last year at the Big Ten tournament. The last time an unranked Ohio State team defeated a ranked Illinois squad was Feb. 22, 2001, a 63-61 victory in Columbus over the No. 3 Illini. An unranked Ohio State team has never defeated a ranked Illinois squad in Champaign.

Illinois Starts 10-1 in Non-Conference
Illinois (15-4, 5-3) opened the season with an 8-0 record before a road loss to Memphis 77-74 Dec. 28. Illinois won the next two non-Big Ten games and then defeated Minnesota on the road and Wisconsin. The Illini dropped a pair to Iowa and Indiana on the road and then defeated Purdue, Penn State (away) and Michigan before a loss at Michigan State. In non-conference action, Illinois defeated North Carolina, Arkansas, Temple and Missouri. All were at neutral sites with the exception of the home win over North Carolina (92-65) in Champaign.

Illini Take Week Off After Loss to Spartans
Paul Davis scored a career-high 15 points and Alan Anderson also had 15 as Michigan State rallied from a big first-half deficit to beat No. 13 Illinois 68-65. Michigan State trailed by 14 with two minutes left in the first half and won the game by outscoring Illinois 9-3 over the final five minutes. Brian Cook was held to 13 in 22 minutes because of foul trouble. He picked up his fourth foul with 11:57 to play. Michigan State took its first lead at 45-44 on Maurice Ager’s 3-pointer with 14:27 left. There were five lead changes and two ties over the next eight-plus minutes. Sean Harrington’s 3-pointer with 6:02 left put Illinois ahead 60-59. Michigan State’s Kelvin Torbert made two free throws for a 61-60 lead with 2:36 left, and Davis ended a Spartans field-goal drought of more than five minutes with an 18-foot jumper to put them ahead 65-62 with 1:52 left. After fouling out Aloysius Anagonye, Cook’s two free throws with 1:24 left were Illinois’ first points in nearly four minutes. Chris Hill’s 3-pointer with just under a minute left put Michigan State ahead 68-64 and essentially sealed the win.

Senior, Freshman Lead Illinois
Senior forward Brian Cook is the Big Ten’s leading scorer with 20.6 points per game. He also is the Illini’s top rebounder with 7.5 a contest. Freshman guard Dee Brown is the second leading scorer for the Illini with 11.9 points per game. He also is the leading assist man with 95, the leader in minutes with 34.5 a game and is second with 37 made 3-pointers.

Self Guides Third Team in Champaign
Bill Self is in his third season at Illinois. He has an overall record of 68-21 in his Illini tenure. Overall, which includes his years as the head coach at Tulsa, Self has a record of 197-102 in 10 seasons as a head coach.

Illinois Sees Darby’s Best Efforts
Senior Brent Darby has the highest scoring average among the Buckeyes against Illinois. His 14.6 points per game in five career meetings against the Illini are the most he has averaged against Big Ten teams. Darby has made 25-29 (.862) free throws in his career, including a career best 16 of 18 effort Jan. 29, 2002 in Columbus, against the Illini. Junior Zach Williams is the second leading Ohio State scorer against Illinois with 8.0 points per game in four meetings. He also is the top rebounder with 5.7 a contest.

Ohio State vs. Ranked Opponents
The Buckeyes are 126-199 all-time against opponents ranked in the Associated Press Top 25. In the last five years, Ohio State has won 22 of 41 (.537) games against ranked foes.

Radinovic Misses Gopher Game
Junior center Velimir Radinovic missed the game against Minnesota Feb. 5 with an injury to the little finger on his left hand. Radinovic watched the Ohio State win from his hospital room, where he spent two nights as a precaution while receiving intravenous antibiotics. The injury occurred Tuesday during practice when an interior pass caused a compound dislocation near the tip of the left little finger. Because the small bone at the tip of the finger broke the skin and was exposed, Radinovic needed the extended hospital stay to avoid infection. It will be a game-time decision on whether or not he will be available against Illinois.

Darby Among Big Ten Leaders
Senior Brent Darby is second in scoring among Big Ten players with 17.9 points per game behind Illinois’ Brian Cook (20.6). Darby also is No. 7 in assists (4.15 apg.) and No. 5 in steals (1.65 spg.). In 3-point shooting statistics, Darby rates No. 10 in 3-pointers made per game (1.85). In conference games, Darby is among the Top 10 in several categories.

Radinovic, Jenkins Among Leaders in Big Ten Conference Games
Junior center Velimir Radinovic has connected on 58 percent of his shots from the field in conference games (29-50) to rank No. 5 in the Big Ten. Junior Shun Jenkins is tied as the third-best rebounder in league games with an average of 7.2 a game. He also is the No. 3-rated offensive rebounder in conference games with an average of 2.89 in nine league games.

Ohio State Among Top 3 League Teams in Several Areas
The Buckeyes are ranked among the Top 3 teams in several statistical areas in Big Ten games this season. Ohio State is No. 3 in field goal percentage defense (.396), No. 2 in 3-point field goal percentage defense (.282), No. 3 in rebounding offense (35.4) and No. 3 in rebounding margin (+2.4) and No. 2 in offensive rebounds per game with an average of 11.44 a game.

Darby Moves Up Scoring Chart, Connolly Closing on 1,000 Points
Senior guard Brent Darby became the 41st player at Ohio State to score 1,000 career points during his 28-point effort against Indiana (1/11). Darby has 1,140 career points and is No. 28 all-time on the Ohio State scoring chart. Frank Howard (1,147/1956-58) is next on the all-time scoring list at No. 27. Sean Connolly has scored 990 career points, which includes 330 while a freshman at Providence. At least one player has reached 1,000 points in each of the last five years at Ohio State. Michael Redd (5th/1,879) and Jason Singleton (40th/1,022) reached 1,000 in 1999 followed by Scoonie Penn (35th/1,076) in 2000, Ken Johnson (37th/1,055) in 2001 and Brian Brown (19th/1,384) in 2002.

Darby, Connolly Among Best 3-Point Shooters in Buckeye History
Sean Connolly has made 115 of 303 (.380) career 3-pointers in three seasons as a Buckeye. He is No. 4 all-time in 3-point shooting percentage among players with more than 200 career attempts. He is No. 7 in 3-pointers made and attempts as well. Senior Brent Darby is No. 7 in 3-point shooting percentage (.368) and is No. 4 in made (135) and No. 5 in attempted (367) 3-pointers.

Darby, Connolly Get Little Pine Time
Senior guards Brent Darby and Sean Connolly have little experience watching game action this season. Darby averages a team-high 37.8 minutes a game. Connolly plays 36.7 minutes a contest. Darby has played 40 or more minutes in 10 games, including six of the last 10 contests. Connolly has not come out of five games and has played 39 in two others. He played a season-low 18 minutes against Minnesota Feb. 5.

Three Buckeyes Playing More than 34 Minutes Per Game
Jim O’Brien has not had three players log more than 34 minutes per game until this season. Seniors Sean Connolly (36.7) and Brent Darby (37.8) along with junior Zach Williams (34.2) all have trouble finding time to rest this season. The Buckeyes have used nine different starting lineups because of injuries but Darby, Connolly and Williams remain the anchors of the Buckeye lineup. No Buckeye in O’Brien’s six years has averaged as many minutes as Connolly or Darby since Michael Redd played 37.9 minutes a game as a freshman in 1997-98. Three other players averaged 30 or more minutes that season, but not more than 34 a contest.

O’Brien Nearing Win No. 350
Ohio State head coach Jim O’Brien has won 113 games in Columbus with the Buckeyes in six seasons. His career total of 348 wins includes 67 victories at St. Bonaventure and 168 victories at Boston College. With at least eight games remaining this season, O’Brien has averaged 18.8 wins a season at Ohio State, which includes an 8-22 record his first season in Columbus and a school-record four-consecutive 20-win seasons heading into the 2002-03 campaign.

Darby Leading Ohio State to Team Foul Shooting Mark of 73 percent
Brent Darby has been to the foul line 10 or more times in seven games this season. In those games, he has made 70 of 88 free throws (.800). He leads Ohio State in free throws made (125) and attempted (156). As a team, Ohio State has connected on 373 of 514 free throws for a .726 accuracy rating.

Buckeye Success at Foul Line Best Since 1990-91 Season
Ohio State has not shot a better percentage from the free throw line since the 1991-92 season when the Buckeyes connected on 506-702 foul shots for a .721 shooting percentage. Ohio State has made 373-514 (.726) free throws this year. The last time the Buckeyes finished the season above .700 at the foul line was in 1999-00 when the Buckeyes knocked down 443-629 free throws (.704). Ohio State is on pace to make over 500 foul shots for the second-consecutive season. The last time an Ohio State team made 500 or more foul shots in back-to-back seasons came in 1990-91 (551-778/.708) and 1991-92 (506-702/.721).

Ohio State vs. the Big Ten Conference
Ohio State has a winning record against the Big Ten Conference overall and has a winning mark all-time against five league members. This is the 91st season Ohio State has been affiliated with the Big Ten Conference. The Buckeyes have won or shared 17 league titles, including the 2001-02 co-championship.

Ohio State vs. The Big Ten Illinois 59-95 Indiana 68-95 Iowa 64-68 Michigan 82-68 Michigan State 45-55 Minnesota 72-51 Northwestern 102-44 Penn State 13-12 Purdue 70-78 Wisconsin 79-56 Totals 654-622

This Date In History
Ohio State is 16-17 in games played on Feb. 9. The Buckeyes last won on this date in 1999 against Michigan. The last loss was to Iowa in 2000.

OSU on Feb. 9 2/9/99 W @Kenton 10-8 2/9/01 L Circleville 7-8 2/9/05 W Wooster 37-19 2/9/07 L @Denison 11-22 2/9/15 W @Iowa 17-16 2/9/17 L Purdue 28-29 2/9/18 W Indiana 28-22 2/9/20 L Illinois 27-35 2/9/24 W @Iowa 26-24 2/9/29 L @Michigan 24-34 2/9/35 L Iowa 12-24 2/9/42 L @Iowa 44-52 2/9/45 W @Wisconsin 63-34 2/9/46 W Indiana(ot) 53-52 2/9/48 L @Northwestern 45-47 2/9/52 L @Michigan State 52-70 2/9/53 W Minnesota 81-71 2/9/57 L @Indiana 59(12)-69 2/9/63 W Wisconsin 94-70 2/9/71 W @Purdue 69-67 2/9/74 L @Michigan 68-91(16) 2/9/76 L Michigan 66-90 2/9/78 L @Michigan 74-85 2/9/80 W Michigan State 71(13)-59 2/9/83 W @Wisconsin 68-65 2/9/84 W Minnesota 73-62 2/9/85 L @Wisconsin 78-92 2/9/87 W Michigan State 90-72 2/9/89 L @Illinois 60(16)-62(7) 2/9/91 W Northwestern 96(3)-64 2/9/94 L @Minnesota 73-79(23) 2/9/99 W Michigan 74(13)-69 2/9/00 L Iowa 64(5)-67

Buckeyes keep Gophers Winless in VCA
Emonte Jernigan scored a career-high 21 points as Ohio State beat Minnesota 73-68 Wednesday in Columbus. With the game tied at 48 with 13:04 to play, Jernigan made back-to-back 3-pointers to trigger a 16-7 run that gave the Buckeyes a 64-57 lead with 5:20 to play. Jernigan scored nine points during the run. Minnesota, winless in Value City Arena with an 0-4 record, pulled to 67-64 with 2:06 to play, but Brent Darby made five free throws in the last 1:53 to help seal the win. Led by Jernigan, the Ohio State bench outscored the Golden Gophers’ reserves 31-8 with a season-high effort.. Matt Marinchick came off the bench to add a career-best 10 points for the Buckeyes. Jernigan and Marinchick were needed because the Buckeyes played without center Velimir Radinovic and point guard Brandon Fuss-Cheatham. Radinovic fractured a finger in practice and was in the hospital. Fuss-Cheatham sat out with a sore left knee, which he had surgery on in the preseason. Ohio State had six players – Jernigan, Marinchick, Zach Williams, Matt Sylvester, Shun Jenkins and Darby – play 20 minutes or more. Darby played all 40 minutes and Williams played 37. Maurice Hargrow led Minnesota with 17 points, Michael Bauer had 16, Rick Rickert had 13 and Jerry Holman had 10. Darby had 18 for Ohio State and Williams had 11.

Noting the Win vs. Minnesota

Junior center Velimir Radinovic was not in uniform againstMinnesota. Radinovic suffered a compound dislocation to his leftlittle finger in practice and spent Tuesday and Wednesday in thehospital as a precaution. The Buckeyes are 11-0 when leading with 5minutes remaining in the game. Sean Connolly scored two points tomove to 990 career points. He scored 330 as a freshman atProvidence and has scored 660 at Ohio State. Ohio State is 72-21all time against Minnesota, which includes a 45-17 record inColumbus. Ohio State has won five of the last six games in theseries. In addition, the Golden Gophers are winless with a 0-4record in Value City Arena. The Buckeyes are 68-11 all-time in VCA.Jim O’Brien started the ninth different starting lineup of theseason in the game against the Gophers. Brent Darby, Sean Connolly,Matt Sylvester, Zach Williams and Shun Jenkins started for thefirst time as a unit vs. Minnesota. The Buckeyes are 9-1 thisseason and 81-18 all-time when scoring 70+ points under O’Brien.Minnesota tied the VCA record with 36 attempted 3-pointers.Northwestern also attempted 36 three-pointers Feb. 1 at VCA. BrentDarby moved to 28th on Ohio State’s all-time career scoring listwith 18 points against the Golden Gophers. The senior guard hastotaled 1,140 points. Frank Howard (1956-58) is currently 27th onthe list with 1,147 career points. Darby continued his scoringstreak of 10 or more points in 14 consecutive games. The stretch isthe longest of his career. The Buckeye bench outscored the GoldenGopher bench 31-8, the most points scored by the Ohio State benchthis season. Sophomore Matt Marinchick set career highs with eightpoints and three rebounds in 11 minutes in the first half, whichearned him a second half start. He added two points and one reboundin the second half to finish with 10 points and four boards in acareer-high 20 minutes of play. Junior Emonte Jernigan set acareer-high with 21 points against Minnesota. His previous careerhigh was 20 points against California (1/13/01) while at OregonState and his previous season high as a Buckeye was 12 pointsversus Radford (12/23/02). His five 3-pointers, five rebounds andsix free throws also are career-highs for Jernigan. Freshman MattSylvester tied a career-high with six rebounds against the GoldenGophers. Four Buckeyes scored in double figures for thefourth-consecutive game.

Six Foes Among Top 25 Teams in Associated Press Poll
Ohio State is scheduled to play six teams and seven games against teams currently ranked in the Associated Press Top 25. Another five games are on tap against teams receiving votes in either the AP or ESPN/USA Today polls. No. 4/4 Pittsburgh, No. 5/6 Louisville, No. 9/9 Duke, No. 22/20 Alabama and No. 24/25 Louisville all have faced the Buckeyes this season. No. 16/16 Illinois awaits Ohio State Feb. 9 in Champaign. Indiana, Wisconsin and Michigan State are all receiving votes in one or both polls.

Key Buckeyes Miss 31 Games to Date With Various Injuries
Brandon Fuss-Cheatham (7 games), a sophomore point guard, Shun Jenkins (8), a junior forward, Terence Dials (14), a sophomore center, senior guard Sean Connolly (1) and junior center Velimir Radinovic (1) have missed game action recovering from injuries. Fuss-Cheatham, who started both exhibition contests and then missed the first four regular-season games and two contests in Big Ten play, went down with an injury to his left knee in an exhibition game against the Harlem Globetrotters. The injury, a partially torn lateral meniscus, required arthroscopic surgery Nov. 25. Jenkins suffered a broken little finger on his left hand against the Globetrotters. He had surgery Nov. 27 and missed the first eight games of the season. He had the pins removed Dec. 19 and played for the first time as a Buckeye against Tennessee State. Dials has missed the last 14 games with a stress fracture in his lumbar spine (level 2). He is out indefinitely. He last played against Pittsburgh Dec. 18. Connolly did not play at Michigan State while recovering from a left ankle sprain sustained Jan. 4 against Louisville. Radinovic suffered a compound dislocation to his left little finger Feb. 4 and missed the Minnesota game Feb. 5.

Connolly, Darby Reach 100 Career Games Played
Sean Connolly reached 100 games played against Seton Hall. Connolly played a total of 30 games at Providence and has appeared in 82 at Ohio State. Brent Darby has played in 110 games as a Buckeye with 68 career starts.

Three Card Monte, LaMonta, Emonte
When Jim O’Brien looks down his bench this season, he’ll have a full compliment of Monte’s with assistant coach LaMonta (la-MON-tay) Stone, Monte (MON-tee) Mathis and junior guard Emonte (e-MON-tee) Jernigan. O’Brien also will have a trio of players, who use the same pronunciation but different spellings of the first name (SHAWN). Seniors Sean Connolly and Shaun Smith along with junior Shun Jenkins all pronounce their names the same.

O’Brien Selected for NCAA Committee
Jim O’Brien will serve as one of four NCAA Division I men’s basketball coaches on the NCAA Basketball Issues Committee. O’Brien will serve for one year. Coaches and administrators on this committee will meet to discuss NCAA Division I men’s basketball issues.

Winning Percentage Soars for O’Brien in Last Four Seasons
Jim O’Brien has won 71 percent of the games he’s coached at Ohio State after an 8-22 record in his first season with the Buckeyes. O’Brien is 104-43 (.707) in the 147 games following the 1997-98 campaign, his first in Columbus. The Buckeyes have won 20 or more games and advanced to the NCAA tournament in each of the last four seasons, while finishing in the Top 3 in the Big Ten regular season race all four years, winning a pair of Big Ten regular season titles (2000 and 2002) and a claiming one Big Ten tournament crown (2002).

Buckeyes Fare Well vs. the Ranked at Value City Arena
No. 15 Indiana (W, 81-69) was the 15th opponent to visit Value City Arena with an AP national ranking since the facility opened in 1998. Ohio State has won 12 of 15 previous games against ranked foes at home under head coach Jim O’Brien at Value City Arena. The Buckeyes were 4-1 in 1998-99, 1-0 in 1999-00, 3-1 in 2000-01 and 3-0 in 2001-02 against ranked teams at home. No. 9 Kansas (2000), No. 12 Iowa (1999) and No. 24 Louisville (2003) are the only ranked teams to claim victory at VCA.

Fans Boost Buckeye Record in Sellouts
Value City Arena has been sold out for 25 games in the last five years since the building opened in 1998. The Buckeyes have won 21 of those games for a winning percentage of .840 when the VCA is sold out. Iowa, Kansas, Indiana and Michigan State are the only teams to overcome the home crowd and the Buckeyes in sold out games at VCA. Jim O’Brien led Ohio State to a 1-0 record in 1998-99, a 11-1 mark in 1999-00, a 3-2 effort in 2000-01 and a 5-1 record in 2001-02 in sold out games at VCA. Ohio State is 1-0 this season.

Buckeyes Play 104th Hoops Season, 91st in Big Ten Conference
Ohio State has a record of 82-22 (.788) in season-opening games over the 104 years of men’s basketball at OSU. The Buckeyes are 86-18 (.827) in home openers and 49-54 (.476) in road/neutral openers. Ohio State did not play a road game in 1900-01. This is the 91st season of Big Ten membership in men’s basketball for the Buckeyes. Ohio State is 50-41 (.549) in conference openers, 62-29 (.681) in league home openers and 34-57 (.374) in the first road game of the season in Big Ten play.

Value City Arena Serves Buckeyes Well
The Buckeyes are in the fifth season at Value City Arena. Ohio State is 68-11 (.861) in games played on the home floor since the building opened for the start of the 1998-99 campaign.

Ohio State Win 10 Home Games for 5th Season in a Row
With the 73-68 win over Minnesota Feb. 5, Ohio State extended its steak to five years in which the Buckeyes have won at least 10 home games in a season. Ohio State is 10-3 this season with three remaining home contests against Iowa, Purdue and Michigan State. Ohio State started the streak with a 14-1 home record in 1998-99. The Buckeyes were 15-2 in 1999-00, 14-3 in 2000-01 and 15-2 in 2001-02. The last time Ohio State put together five-consecutive seasons with 10 or more home wins was from 1985-1994, a stretch of 10 seasons with 10 or more victories in St. John Arena.

Salley Added to Buckeye Roster
Nate Salley, a freshman safety on the Ohio State football team, joined the men’s basketball team Jan. 7. Salley took three days off after helping the football team win the national title before donning basketball practice gear and working out with Jim O’Brien’s squad. Salley, a 6-foot-3-inch, 195-pound guard, averaged more than 19 points a game as a senior at St. Thomas Aquinas in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. He wore the No. 21 on the football field and will do same as a member of the basketball team. On the gridiron, he played in all 14 games, primarily on special teams, recording six total tackles and three solos. He scored on his only shot from the field in Ohio State’s loss at Michigan State Jan. 9.