CHICAGO, Ill. – The No. 19 Ohio State men’s basketball team topped Illinois, 77-67, Wednesday night at the United Center in Chicago. With the win, the Buckeyes improve to 8-1 on the year, including 2-0 in the Big Ten, while the Illini drop to 2-7 overall, 0-2 in conference play.
Keyshawn Woods led Ohio State with 18 points to go along with four rebounds while Kaleb Wesson added 13 points and seven boards and Musa Jallow tacked on 11 points and a career-best nine rebounds. Kipper Nichols and Trent Frazier each scored 18 for the Illini.
Ohio State held an early lead at 12-6 with 15:48 left in the first half after four-straight points from Jallow but the Illini responded with a 9-1 run over the next 2:49 to take a 15-13 advantage. Ohio State answered right back with an 11-1 run over the next 2:26, holding a 24-16 lead with 10:33 left to play, but Illinois held the Buckeyes to 3-for-13 from the field to close the half on a 22-10 spurt and hold a 38-34 lead at the break.
Both teams shot 40 percent from the field in the first half but the Illini went 15-for-19 from the free throw line while the Buckeyes were 7-for-12 from the charity stripe. Duane Washington Jr. paced Ohio State with seven points at the half while Frazier scored 11 for Illinois.
After a back-and-forth start to the second half, Ohio State went on a 23-7 run over an eight-minute stretch midway through the period to take a commanding 71-58 lead with 6:07 remaining. Illinois cut the Buckeye advantage to six twice in the final three minutes but Andre Wesson and Jallow each connected on a pair of free throws to seal the victory.
For the game, Ohio State limited the Illini to 32.8 percent shooting, including 27.3 percent in the second half. The Buckeyes shot 57.1 percent from the field and made 16 of 20 free throws in the final 20 minutes.
Ohio State is off until it takes on Bucknell at noon Dec. 15 at Value City Arena.