March 6, 2020 / 2:32 AM / 23 days ago

No. 19 Ohio State wins 4th straight, fending off No. 23 Illinois

Kaleb Wesson had 19 points and E.J. Liddell was right behind with 17 as No. 19 Ohio State overcame a seven-point halftime deficit for a 71-63 victory over No. 23 Illinois in Columbus on Thursday.

Mar 5, 2020; Columbus, Ohio, USA; Illinois Fighting Illini forward Giorgi Bezhanishvili (15) warms up before the game against the Ohio State Buckeyes at Value City Arena. Mandatory Credit: Joseph Maiorana-USA TODAY Sports

Wesson had 15 points in the second half before fouling out with 1:49 left for the Buckeyes (21-9, 11-8 Big Ten) in their fourth straight win and ninth in 11 games.

Illinois (20-10, 12-7) had a four-game winning streak snapped and lost an opportunity to move into a four-way tie for first in the Big Ten with one game left.

Maryland, Michigan State and Wisconsin are each 13-6. Wisconsin plays at Indiana on Saturday, while on Sunday, Michigan is at Maryland, Illinois hosts Iowa, and Ohio State goes to Michigan State.

Liddell, Mr. Basketball in Illinois in 2018 and ‘19, tied his career high in points and set a career mark with 11 rebounds.

Ayo Dosunmu had 14 of his 21 points in the first half for Illinois.

Ohio State, which trailed 37-30 at the half, went on a 14-2 run for a 56-51 lead with 6:31 left on two free throws by Liddell.

Wesson extended the lead to 63-55 with 3:38 to go with five consecutive points.

The Buckeyes went 24 of 28 from the foul line, including 15 of 18 in the second half, while Illinois made 9 of 10 in the game.

Wesson picked up his second foul 2:07 into the game and went in and out of the lineup the remainder of the half when he had four points in 11 minutes.

Illinois center Kofi Cockburn got his second at the 10:32 mark of the first half. He departed for the half with six points and his team up 20-9.

In addition to honoring seniors Andre Wesson and Danny Hummer, Ohio State recognized its 1960 NCAA championship, the lone title for the program. Players on that team included Jerry Lucas and Bobby Knight, who were in attendance, and the late John Havlicek.

—Field Level Media

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