Ayo Dosunmu, Unranked Illinois Upset Lamar Stevens, No. 9 Penn State in Big Ten

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured ColumnistFebruary 19, 2020

CHAMPAIGN, IL - FEBRUARY 11: Ayo Dosunmu #11 of the Illinois Fighting Illini brings the ball up court during the game against the Michigan State Spartans at State Farm Center on February 11, 2020 in Champaign, Illinois. (Photo by Michael Hickey/Getty Images)
Michael Hickey/Getty Images

Illinois upset No. 9 Penn State 62-56 on Tuesday at Bryce Jordan Center in University Park, Pennsylvania.

Ayo Dosunmu's status for the game was in doubt after he injured his knee in the Fighting Illini's loss to Michigan State on Feb. 11. The sophomore suited up against the Nittany Lions and had a game-high 24 points.

As Illinois was clinging to a two-point lead, Dosunmu hit a floater with 16.1 seconds remaining to help seal the victory.

The Fighting Illini and Nittany Lions rank 263nd and 45th, respectively, in adjusted tempo, per KenPom.com. In general, Illinois was able to dictate the pace of the game early on, as the teams had combined for 29 points midway through the first half.

And as Dosunmu delivered on the offensive end, the Illini collectively suffocated Penn State on defense. The Nittany Lions shot 36.2 percent from the floor and made just four of their 19 three-point attempts. Lamar Stevens nearly had a double-double (13 points, nine rebounds) but went 3-of-11 from the floor.

Myreon Jones missed his fourth straight game with an undisclosed illness, and his long-range shooting was sorely missed for Penn State.

Illinois snapped a four-game losing skid with the win, and the result could have implications for the NCAA tournament.

In his most recent edition of Bracketology, ESPN's Joe Lunardi projected the Fighting Illini to be a No. 8 seed in the West Region. They had been a No. 7 seed when Lunardi looked at the field of 68 teams last Friday.

A fifth straight defeat wouldn't have helped Illinois' tournament position, and beating a Top 10 team alleviates some of the need for the Illini to topple one of No. 25 Ohio State or No. 20 Iowa in their final two regular-season games.

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