Ohio State 62, Illinois 55 (The SportsXchange)

COLUMBUS — One losing streak had to end. The other one had to go on. The Ohio State Buckeyes ended their four-game skid with a 62-55 victory against the Illinois Fighting Illini on Thursday night. The Illini (13-7, 2-5) lost for the fifth consecutive game. The No. 17 Buckeyes (16-4, 3-4) entered the contest having lost four in a row for the first time since 2008. Forward Laquinton Ross, who scored 18 points, and guard Lenzelle Smith Jr., who scored 16 and made four 3-pointers, led Ohio State. Illinois guard Joseph Bertrand dropped a game-high 19 and was seven-of-10 from the field. Ohio State’s defense struggled in losses to Michigan State, Iowa, Minnesota and Nebraska, but it was the defense that paved the way to the victory against Illinois. The Buckeyes took their first lead of the second half with 14:17 remaining. Guard Aaron Craft picked the ball from guard Jaylon Tate, and the rosy-cheeked senior made a layup in transition. Illinois coach John Groce called a timeout, Ohio State’s bench jumped out of their chairs in joy, and the Schottenstein Center crowd stood, cheering in jubilation. Illinois battled back, tying the game with six minutes left, but the score didn’t remain 46-all for long. Ross hit a 3-pointer seconds later to give the Buckeyes the lead back for good. Ohio State forced nine Illinois turnovers in the final 20 minutes. Four different Buckeyes recorded at least two steals. The Buckeyes next play Jan. 29 against Penn State. Illinois takes the court again Sunday against Indiana. Both teams displayed many of the same issues that plagued them during their respective losing streaks in the opening minutes. …

Continue Reading: Ohio State 62, Illinois 55 (The SportsXchange)

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