Something had to give in Columbus, Ohio on Thursday night between the Ohio State Buckeyes and Illinois Fighting Illini as the two Big Ten Conference basketball teams entered tonight’s action on a four-game losing streak.
The Illini took a one-point lead into halftime behind the efforts of Joseph Bertrand and Nnanna Egwu, but the Buckeyes used a 9-0 run early in the second half to put distance between them and the Illini and they weren’t able to get momentum on the road late and lost 62-55.
LaQuinton Ross led Ohio State with 18 points while Bertrand led Illinois with 19 on 7-9 shooting. Illinois’ leading scorer Rayvonte Rice was 0-8 from the field as the Illini drop to 13-7 and 2-5 in the Big Ten. Ohio State is now 15-4 and 3-4 in conference.
After beginning the season with wins in 13 of their first 15 games, Jon Groce’s club finds itself in danger of missing the NCAA tournament with a difficult Big Ten schedule remaining that features five games against ranked opponents.
Illinois is at the Indiana Hoosiers on Jan. 26 while the Buckeyes get an extended rest after snapping their longest losing streak since 2008 and won’t be on the hardwood until their Jan. 29 meeting when they host the Penn State Nittany Lions.