EditorsNote: fixes spelling of Muhammad
Keyshawn Woods had 18 points to lead No. 19 Ohio State to a 77-67 victory over Illinois at the United Center in Chicago on Wednesday.
The Buckeyes (8-1, 2-0 Big Ten) outscored the Illini 23-7 in an eight-minute stretch of the second half for a 71-58 lead.
Illinois (2-7, 0-2) ran off seven straight points to make it 71-65 before a Kyle Young basket with 2:22 left gave the Buckeyes a 73-65 lead to quell the rally.
Woods made 6 of 10 field goals and 5 of 5 free throws. Kaleb Wesson added 13 points and Musa Jallow 11 for Ohio State.
Trent Frazier and Cleveland native Kipper Nichols each had 18 points for the Illini.
There were 49 fouls, 26 on Illinois. Ohio State made 23 of 32 free throws; Illinois 23 of 27.
OSU faced a 38-34 halftime deficit and didn’t surpass the Illini until a scoop shot by Duane Washington Jr. for a 52-51 lead with 13:23 left. That came during a 15-2 run that gave the Buckeyes a 63-53 lead with 9:11 remaining, capped by two Andre Wesson free throws.
Ohio State received a surprise with the return of freshman guard Luther Muhammad, who sustained a dislocated shoulder late in the game against Syracuse on Nov. 28 and missed the game Sunday vs. Minnesota.
He wasn’t expected to play vs. the Illini but was medically cleared Wednesday morning. The team did not bring his uniform, so he wore a No. 12 scarlet jersey with no name instead of his usual No. 1.
Muhammad started and had six points in 35 minutes. He was averaging 8.9 points. His first made field goal was a 3-pointer for 59-53 lead at 10:49 of the second half.
Ohio State took a 30-22 lead with 7:48 left in the first half but the Illini pressure led to cold shooting and eight turnovers that gave Illinois the halftime advantage thanks to a 16-4 run.
Illinois is 37-16 at the United Center since the 1994-95 season.
—Field Level Media