by Stix Lightfoot
The Ohio State basketball team settled a score with the Illinois Fighting Illini by beating them 83-67 on Tuesday, February 21st. The win was a chance for the Buckeyes to redeem themselves after being stunned 79-74 on January 10th in Champaign.
In their last meeting, Illinois guard Brandon Paul had a career day, going off for 43 points. The Buckeyes could do nothing to stop him. It was a different story this time around. They limited Paul to 9 points on 2-9 from the field, and did not allow him to make a single 3-point basket. Ohio State’s defense was on a mission throughout the game, allowing only two players to score double digits for the Illini.
On the other side of the ball, the Buckeyes had no problem beating the Illinois defense every time down the court. Ohio State was led by sophomore Deshaun Thomas, who had 19 points, and senior William Buford, who added 17. The two combined for 13-17 from the field, including 4-5 from the 3-point line. They also received a solid performance from point guard Aaron Craft, who had 11 points, 5 rebounds, and 5 assists.
The only troubling factor for the Buckeyes in the game was Jared Sullinger, who fouled out after just 27 minutes of play. While the rest of the team was able to pick up the slack this time, it could be a different story in the tournament if Sullinger continues to struggle. The sophomore center finished with just 9 points, and committed 3 turnovers along with his 5 fouls.
Ohio State will try to maintain the momentum from this game into their matchup against #15 Wisconsin on Sunday, February 26th. The Buckeyes have not won two games in a row in almost two and a half weeks, something that is uncharacteristic for a team who is vying for a number one seed in the National Tournament.