Frazier defense holds back OSU star

Erica Magda

Erica Magda

By Jeremy Werner

Chester Frazier has been counted on to shut down the Big Ten’s best in the young conference season.

The 6-foot-2 senior has guarded stars of all shapes and sizes from speedy Michigan State point guard Kalin Lucas to Michigan’s lanky 6-foot-5 Manny Harris, the Big Ten’s leading scorer, to 6-foot-8 Purdue forward Robbie Hummel, the preseason Big Ten Player of the Year.

Frazier held Evan Turner, the Big Ten’s third-leading scorer, to a season-low four points on 2-of-7 shooting in Tuesday night’s 67-49 win. It was just the second time Turner, who entered the game averaging 15.9 points, scored less than eight points this season.

Illinois head coach Bruce Weber was leaning toward putting his senior point guard on Ohio State freshman William Buford, who scored a team-high 13 points on Tuesday, but assistant coach Jerrance Howard suggested that Frazier guard Turner.

“All year we’ve had Chester on the best offensive player,” Weber said. “Definitely Evan is (Ohio State’s) best offensive player. So we kind of maybe take a hit on somebody else, but we limited Evan. Chester’s quickness bothered him.”

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    Illinois point guard Demetri McCamey, who attended St. Joseph High School in Chicago with Turner, applauded another tenacious defensive effort by his Illini teammate.

    “Chester did a hell of a job on Evan tonight,” McCamey said. “He’s a real good player and probably one of the top small forwards in the country. Chester just went all out tonight.”

    Frazier also made an impact on the other end of the court.

    Usually just a distributor on offense, Frazier went 3-for-4 from the field, including 2-of-3 from beyond the arc, to score 10 points, just the third time he has scored in double figures this season.

    “It’s good for him to knock them down, a confidence builder,” Weber said. “He’ll probably feel a little more of a part of it now that he scored.”

    Illini fans salute Obama

    A mix of red, white and blue could be seen mixed with the orange at Assembly Hall on Tuesday night.

    Fans attending Illinois’ game against Ohio State received a miniature flag at the door to honor the inauguration of the 44th president of the United States, Barack Obama, former junior Illinois senator.

    Dominique Keller, who voted for Obama, ran onto the floor with one of the flags and handed it off to a member of the Orange Krush.

    “I was happy we finally got a black president,” Keller said. “I saw the flags so I felt real good. It’s about time.”

    The crowd waved the flags after the singing of the national anthem and prior to tipoff.

    Highlights of Obama’s inauguration were also played on the Assembly Hall Jumbotron.

    “The presidential election meant a lot on college campuses this time,” Weber said. “There’s a lot of problems in our country, the world. I think people are looking for a change and hope. I think it was important. It was a good addition. I hope it looked well. I hope it looked good on TV, and we kind of finished it off with the win.”