CHAMPAIGN (WCIA) — Turns out a couple days off were all the Illini needed.

With five days between games, the longest stretch in nearly a month, Illinois led Ohio State by as many as 11 points in the first half, extended the lead to 17 in the second, and beat Ohio State 69-60 in front of a sold out State Farm Center crowd Tuesday night.

The Illini (14-6, 5-4 B1G) got 12 first half points by Terrence Shannon Jr. who finished with a game high 17. Coleman Hawkins played one of his most complete games of the season, scoring 11 points, grabbing nine rebounds and dishing six assists. Jayden Epps added 14 with Matthew Mayer adding 12 to round out the Illini in double-figures.

The Illini were in control for a large majority of the game… thanks in no small part to a suffocating defensive performance that held the Buckeyes to 36 percent from the field… and freshman sensation Brice Sensabaugh to 14 points.

“It’s a team assignment,” Hawkins said about the win and his role in it. “I know if I shut those guys down, it’ll be a lot easier to win. Kinda just locking in on those assignments, it’s exciting to go out and play against guys like that.”

“Offense is fleeting,” Underwood said about how his team defended, holding the Buckeyes to 36 percent from the field. “It’s great when a ball goes in and it looks good and everybody’s talking about it and they show the highlights on TV. Defense wins championships, offense will win you a game. We’re gonna win in this league because we guard and we gotta be tougher.”

Epps gets the second start of his career, setting a career high with 32 minutes and then a good offensive performance to boot as well.

“He was great, it wasn’t anything big,” Underwood said about inserting Epps into the starting five in place of Sencire Harris. “It was just kind of a gut feeling. There’s a little different approach the defense has to take when he’s in the game and I thought, ‘Let’s see how that looks.'”

The Buckeyes (11-9, 3-6 B1G) were led by freshman sensation Brice Sensabaugh’s 14. Justice Sueing added 13 as the only other OSU player in double-figures. Forward Zed Key was held to just eight points, all in the second half, before fouling out.

Illinois returns to court Saturday with a trip to Wisconsin. The Illini beat the Badgers 79-69 in Champaign earlier this month.