Ohio State drops Game 6 of last seven with 69-60 road loss to Illinois

Ohio State’s winning ways didn’t last long.

The Buckeyes ended their five-game skid with a win over Iowa on Saturday, but stumbled on the road in Champaign on Tuesday to suffer a sixth loss in the last seven games. Illinois cruised to a 69-60 victory to win its fifth game of the last six.

Team

1

2

FINAL

OHIO STATE

26

34

60

ILLINOIS 34 35 69

Unlike each of Ohio State’s five previous losses, this one wasn’t particularly close, despite trailing in the single digits to end the night. In fact, it was the Buckeyes’ most lopsided Big Ten loss of the season.

Illinois benefited from frequent fouls by Ohio State and an ineffective first half for the Buckeyes, who trailed by double digits early in the second period. Texas Tech transfer Terrence Shannon set the tone for the Illini, but his teammates blew the lid off with a 10-0 run that dropped Ohio State 17 points five minutes into the second period.

The Buckeyes reduced the deficit to single digits several times after that, but never really threatened to regain control. Illinois dominated the glass and led for over 34 minutes on the night, including the entire second half.

First half

Ohio State took a 9-5 lead in the first media timeout after a 7-0 run that featured back-to-back jumpers from Brice Sensabaugh. After that, the Buckeyes missed eight straight shots during a streak in which they failed to hit a field goal for more than five minutes. Illinois took full advantage with a 9-1 run to regain a lead midway through the half.

The Buckeyes connected on just six of their first 20 attempts from the floor, but still trailed just two points by media timeout of less than eight minutes. Two free throw misses on the front of the one-and-one proved costly for Ohio State, which only saw Illinois’ lead grow after that.

OHIO STATE

STAT

ILLINOIS

60

POINTS

69

22-60 (36.7%)

FGM-FGA (PCT.)

24-59 (40.7%)

4-10 (40%)

3PM-3PA (pct.)

5-28 (17.9%)

12-20 (60.%)

FTM-ALE (PCT.)

16-18 (88.9%)

6

SALES FIGURES

12

30

TOTAL BOUNDS

44

ten

OFFENSIVE REBOUNDS

14

20

DEFENSIVE REBOUNDS

30

18

BENCH POINTS

9

3

BLOCKS

6

6

STOLEN

4

8

ASSISTANCE

13

With Sensabaugh and Justice Sueing both ruled out for fouls, the Illini opened up an 11-point lead at 2:28. Ohio State cut the lead to six with 14 seconds left, but Illinois scored the final two points to head into the half 34-28.

Ohio State shot just 31.3 percent from the field and gave up 13 free throw attempts to the Illini, who hit 11. Illinois leader Terrence Shannon knocked down six on his own. By comparison, the Buckeyes drew just 3 for 6 from the charity strip.

Second part

Illinois was already leading the way to start the period, but took a hold of the contest with a 10-0 run from 5:53 to 3:18. Jayden Epps and Dain Dainja combined to score all 10 points as the Illini opened up a 17-point, 48-31 lead.

But the Buckeyes did not fade. With Illinois up 15 at 13:17, Ohio State collected the next seven straight points to make it a single-digit ballgame again. Zed Key finished the run with a layup and one to help bring the Buckeyes to life.

Just under two minutes later, however, Key committed his fourth foul as the Illini regained an 11-point advantage with the clock under nine minutes. Illinois’ advantage on the glass became more pronounced as the game progressed, and an offensive rebound led to a dunk from Illini to increase their lead to 6:40. Just 23 seconds later, Illinois threw another dunk to make it a 16-point game.

Key fouled out with 5:05 remaining as Ohio State slipped out of striking distance. Trailing 17 in the latest media timeout, it was too late for the Buckeyes to mount a meaningful comeback effort.

Sensabaugh led the Buckeyes in scoring for the 11th straight game, but his 14 points were his fewest since Dec. 8. Sueing was the only other Buckeye to finish in double figures, scoring 13 points off the bench.

Four Illini starters scored at least 11 points and Shannon led all scorers with 17 points.

Game Notes

  • Zed Key, who left Saturday’s game in the dying seconds with a knee injury, was available and started the game for the Buckeyes.

  • Judge Sueing came off the bench for the second game in a row while Bruce Thornton, Sean McNeil, Isaac Likekele and Brice Sensabaugh joined Key in the starting lineup. McNeil came off the bench Saturday due to a dental emergency.

  • Ohio State defeated Illinois, 86-83, in last year’s game at State Farm Center on Feb. 24, 2022.

  • Tuesday’s game was the first time in the series’ final six all-time matchups in which neither Ohio State nor Illinois were ranked in the AP Top 25.

  • Illinois last defeated Ohio State in an overtime game for the Big Ten Tournament Championship on March 14, 2021.

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