Wednesday, July 24, 2024

Ohio State snaps skid, takes down Illinois

Bruce Thornton had 20 points and Brice Sensabaugh sparked a key second-half run as Ohio State upended Illinois 72-60 on Sunday in Big Ten action in Columbus, Ohio.

Sensabaugh and Justice Sueing each finished with 14 points for the Buckeyes (12-17, 4-14), who snapped a nine-game losing streak and won for just the second time in 16 games.

Coleman Hawkins had 14 points and seven rebounds for the Fighting Illini (19-10, 10-8), who suffered a crucial loss in their effort to build their resume for an at-large bid for the NCAA tournament.

Matthew Mayer added 11 and Terrence Shannon Jr. had 10 points but fouled out with two minutes remaining as Illinois fell short in its bid for another comeback win. Jayden Epps also had 10 points.

Ohio State came out shooting well, making 17 of 28 shots in the first half to build a 41-29 halftime lead. Sensabaugh’s layup and free throw gave the Buckeyes their biggest lead of the game, 41-26, with 29 seconds left in the half.

Mayer drained a three with three seconds remaining to give the Illini a little momentum heading into the half.

Sensabaugh’s jumper put Ohio State ahead 45-31 with 17:41 left in the second half.

But, as they did against Northwestern three days earlier, the Illini put together a spurt that put them back in the game. Shannon’s free throw with 15:11 capped a three-point play and a 10-0 run that brought the visitors within four, 45-41.

Both teams were off the mark from beyond the arc to start the second half, combining to miss 15 straight 3-point attempts. Epps ended the drought for Illinois with the first second-half triple by either team to cut Ohio State’s lead to one, 53-52, with 6:53 remaining.

Ohio State answered with an 11-1 run, highlighted by a thunderous one-handed dunk by Sensabaugh on the fast break. Thornton capped the run with a three-point play with a layup and free throw with 3:57 remaining.

Illinois had four blocks to raise its season total to a program-record 166, four more than the old single-season mark set by the 1978-79 team.

–Field Level Media

FLM Direct-Baller
FLM Direct-Ballerhttp://fieldlevelmedia.com
Field Level Media was founded by sports media executives with more than 40 years of combined experience working with the most influential media companies in the industry.
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