Ohio State drops sixth game of last seven with 69-60 road loss to Illinois

Ohio State drops sixth game of last seven with 69-60 road loss to Illinois

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

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

Team

1

2

LAST

OHIO STATE

26

34

60

ILLINOIS 34 35 69

Unlike any of Ohio State’s previous five losses, this one wasn’t exactly close, despite a single-digit deficit to close out the night. In fact, it was the Buckeyes’ most lopsided Big Ten loss of the season.

Illinois took advantage of frequent Ohio State errors and an inefficient first half field 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 put Ohio State behind five minutes into the second half.

The Buckeyes trimmed the deficit to single digits several times after that, but never really threatened to regain control. Illinois dominated the glass, leading over 34 minutes that night, including all of the second half.

First half

Ohio State took a 9-5 lead in the first media timeout on a 7-0 run with back-to-back Brice Sensabaugh jumpers. Then the Buckeyes missed eight consecutive shots during a stretch that failed to hit a field goal in over five minutes. Illinois took full advantage with a 9–1 run to regain the lead midway through the half.

The Buckeyes made only six of their first 20 attempts from the floor, but still trailed only two points by the media timeout of less than eight minutes. Two missed free throws on the front of 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%)

3-3pm (PCT.)

5-28 (17.9%)

12-20 (60%)

FTM-FTA (PCT.)

16-18 (88.9%)

6

REVENUE

12

30

TOTAL REBOUNDS

44

10

ATTACKING REBOUNDS

14

20

DEFENSIVE REBOUNDS

30

18

BANK POINTS

9

3

BLOCKS

6

6

STEAL

4

8

STAFF

13

With Sensabaugh and Justice Sueing both sidelined for foul trouble, the Illini opened up an 11-point lead at 2:28. Ohio State cut the lead to six with 14 seconds left to play, but Illinois scored the final two points to go into halftime 34–28.

Ohio State shot just 31.3% from the field and gave up 13 free throw attempts to the Illini, who hit 11. Illinois scoring leader Terrence Shannon knocked down six himself. By comparison, the Buckeyes only shot 3-for-6 from the charity line.

Second half

Illinois already led the dance to start the period, but got a vice hold on the game 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 lead, 48-31.

But the Buckeyes didn’t wilt. With Illinois up 15 at 1:17 p.m., Ohio State rattled off the next seven consecutive points to make it another single-digit ball game. Zed Key ended the run with an one-and-one layup to revitalize the Buckeyes.

Just under two minutes later, however, Key committed his fourth foul as the Illini regained an 11-point lead with the clock ticking less than nine minutes. Illinois edge on the glass became more pronounced as play went on, and an offensive rebound led to an Illini dunk to extend their lead at 6:40. Just 23 seconds later, Illinois knocked down another dunk to make it a 16-point game.

Key fell out with 5:05 to play as Ohio State slid out of striking distance. Trailing by 17 at the last media timeout, it was too late for the Buckeyes to make any meaningful comeback effort.

Sensabaugh led the Buckeyes in scoring for the 11th straight game, but his 14 points were his fewest since December 8. Sueing was the only other Buckeye to finish in double digits, scoring 13 points from 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 final seconds with a knee injury, was available to start the game for the Buckeyes.

  • Justice 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 couch on Saturday due to a dental emergency.

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

  • Tuesday’s game marked the first time in the last six matchups in the all-time series that neither Ohio State nor Illinois were 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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