Lowly Buckeyes Snap 9-Game Slide, Eliminate Illini From Big Ten Title Race

By IlliniGuys Staff

February 26, 2023

(Cover photo courtesy Illinois Athletics)

COLUMBUS, Ohio - The Big Ten championship race was falling into place for an Illinois late run in the final week of the season, but there will be no repeat conference regular season title for the Orange and Blue.

The Illini lost 72-60 suffer a loss to their worst rated foe for the season in Ohio State.  The win snaps the Buckeyes' 9-game losing streak and is just their second victory in 2023.

With Indiana beating frontrunner Purdue Saturday night and Northwestern being upset at Maryland today, the Illini had a chance to move into a 2nd place tie with all three of those games at 11-7, just two games behind Purdue in the Big Ten standings.

Instead, Illinois falls into a tie with Iowa at 10-8 for no better than 6th place for the moment, with a home date with Michigan and season finale at Purdue remaining.

Ohio State was playing without star junior center Zed Key, who is out for the season with a shoulder injury, but a bevy of Buckeyes freshman led the home team to a 41-29 lead as they shot a blistering 61  percent from the field as a team.

Illinois went on a 14-4 run in the second half to close the gap, only to allow Ohio State to hit seven field goals in a row to end the game.

Ohio State freshman Bruce Thornton scored a game-high 20 points and Justice Sueing and Brice Sensabaugh added 14 each for the Buckeyes (12-17, 3-15).

Coleman Hawkins led Illinois (19-10, 10-8) with 14 points, 10 of those coming in the first half.  Matt Mayer added 11 while Terrence Shannon Jr. and Jayden Epps combined for just 6-of-22 shooting to score 10 points each.

Illinois returns to action in its home finale against Michigan Thursday night.

Stay with IlliniGuys.com for complete coverage from Columbus.

 

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