COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCIA) — Illinois (20-6; 16-4) scored nine points in a row to end the game and beat the Ohio State Buckeyes on the road 73-68.
The Illini and Buckeyes traded runs to start the game. Senior Trent Frazier got in foul trouble early, but freshmen Andre Curbelo and Adam Miller filled the hole by combining for 13 points. In Ayo Dosunmu’s return, he did not score his first points until halfway through the first half but went into halftime perfect from the field with 11 points.
The Buckeyes were up 68-64 before Dosunmu made a free throw, and Da’Monte Williams tied the game with a three-pointer. With 44 seconds left in the game, Dosunmu was fouled and made a layup that put the Illini in front for good.
“Look at our resume. We lost four games I believe, we beat Michigan who were the champs,” said Ayo Dosunmu after the game. “They didn’t play three more games, any day in the Big Ten anybody can be beat. I think we proceed we’re one of the best teams in the country. With this win tonight, we believe we’re Big Ten Champions.”
Dosunmu and Curbelo were tied for team lead in points, each had 19. The masked Dosunmu had six of the last nine Illini points.
“I couldn’t be prouder of Ayo,” said head coach Brad Underwood. “There’s nothing easy about taking ten or eleven days off, having to wear a facemask and get back into it, it’s hard. That’s really, really, really hard to do.”
Illinois will now have six days off before they get started in the Big Ten Tournament next Friday. They have the No. 2 seed locked up, and will played the winner of the No. 7/No. 10 game.