Ohio State drops Game Six of its last seven with a 69-60 loss on the road at Illinois

Ohio State’s winning ways did not last long.

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

Team

1

2

last

Ohio State

26

34

60

ILLINOIS 34 35 69

Unlike each of Ohio State’s previous five losses, these were not particularly close, despite a single-digit deficit to end the night. In fact, this was the Buckeyes’ most lopsided Big Ten defeat of the season.

Illinois took advantage of Ohio State’s repeated errors and an ineffective first half of the field for the Buckeyes, who found themselves trailing by double digits early in the second period. Texas Tech transfer Terrence Shannon set the tone for the Illini, but the teammates blew the lid with a 10-0 run that put Ohio State to 17 five minutes into the second period.

The Buckeyes cut the deficit to single digits on multiple occasions after that, but they never really threatened to take back control. Illinois dominated the Cup and led for over 34 minutes on the night, including the entire second half.

first half

Ohio State took a 9-5 lead in its first media timeout after a 7-0 streak that featured back-to-back Bryce Sensabaugh touchdowns. After that, the Buckeyes missed eight consecutive shots during a period in which they failed to make a field goal for more than five minutes. Illinois took full advantage with a 9-1 lead to regain the lead at the halfway mark.

The Buckeyes only connected on six of their first 20 attempts from the ground, but they still trailed by just two points via a media timeout of under eight minutes. Two free throw fumbles on the front end of a 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 pm – 3 pm (PCT)

5-28 (17.9%)

12-20 (60.%)

FTM-FTA (PCT)

16-18 (88.9%)

6

Transformation

12

30

total aid

44

10

Offensive victories

14

20

Defensive victories

30

18

bench points

9

3

blocks

6

6

Steal

4

8

helpers

13

With both Sensabaugh and Justice Sueing sidelined with serious trouble, the Illini opened up an 11-point lead with a mark of 2:28. Ohio State cut the deficit to six with 14 seconds left to play, but Illinois scored the final two points to advance to 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 of them. Illinois scoring leader Terrence Shannon has defeated six of those himself. By comparison, the Buckeyes have only shot 3 for 6 of the charity strip.

the other half

Illinois was already leading the dance to start the period, but needed to take control of the contest with a 10-0 lead from 17:53 to 15:18. Jayden Epps and Dane Dinga combined for all 10 points as the Illini opened up a 17-point lead, 48-31.

But the Buckeyes did not wither. With Illinois up 15 at 13:17, Ohio State knocked out the next seven straight points to make it a single-digit ball game again. Zed Key capped off the run with a single to help breathe life into the Buckeyes.

Just under two minutes later, Ki made his fourth foul as the Illini regained 11 points with time under nine minutes down. Illinois’ advantage on the glass became more apparent as the game progressed, and the offensive rebound dunked Illinois to increase their lead at the 6:40 mark. Just 23 seconds later, Illinois hit another dunk to make it a 16-point game.

Key missed with 5:05 to play as Ohio State fell behind from hitting distance. Trailing by 17 in media timeouts, it was too late for the Buckeyes to make any meaningful comeback effort.

Sensabaugh led the Buckeyes in scoring for the 11th consecutive game, but his 14 points were the fewest since December 8. Swing 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.

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 Swing came off the bench for the second match in a row while Bruce Thornton, Sean McNeil, Isaac Likele and Bryce Sensabo joined Ke in the starting lineup. McNeil came off the bench Saturday with 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 games in an all-time series that neither Ohio State nor Illinois were ranked in the AP Top 25.

  • The last time Illinois beat Ohio State in an overtime game of the Big Ten Tournament was on March 14, 2021.

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