Illini Lose To Ohio State 75-73
The Illini men’s basketball lost a nail-biter to Ohio State in Columbus Sunday afternoon. Marc Loving scored a career-high 27 points — including 14-of-19 free throws — to lead the Buckeyes State to a 75-73 victory over Illinois.
Illini Malcolm Hill's full court heave bounced off the backboard, a foot to the left of the hoop, as time expired.
Daniel Giddens blocked five of a team total nine shots for the Buckeyes. Illini Kendrick Nunn found himself on the wrong end of that effort – more times than he wanted to remember.
“I think they’re were, like, 8th in the country on blocked shots,” said Nunn. They got long guys. They just come out of nowhere and just pin it on the glass.”
Nunn took note of the free-throw discrepancy between the teams. Ohio State launched 39 attempts, Illinois shot 11.
“The refs probably called some that wasn’t fouls,” said Nunn. They allowed them to play more physical on the defense than us. And they got to the free-throw line and that was a ton of their points.”
Nunn was one of four Illini to score 14 points. Hill, Michael Finke and Jalen Coleman-Lands also scored 14.
Although his young and oft-injured team dropped to 8-and-7 on the year, Illini coach John Groce projected an upbeat attitude.
“I think it’s probably about as good as we’ve played in a long time over the duration of 40 minutes,” said Groce. So I was really pleased with that. It’s definitely something that we could build on. We’re going to keep getting better. Today was a great step for us.”
Jaylon Tate led Illinois with five assists and a steal in a game-high 38 minutes. He committed zero turnovers.
Normal U-High grad Keita-Bates Diop scored 11 and grabbed a game-high 9 rebounds for the Buckeyes. Ohio State beat the Illini 42 to 33 on the boards.
The Buckeyes are now 10-and-5 on the year, undefeated in the Big Ten. Illinois will try to win its first conference game Thursday at Michigan State.