Recap: Ohio State 62, Illinois 55
No. 15 Ohio State 62, Illinois 55: LaQuinton Ross scored 14 of his 18 points in the second half as the host Buckeyes upended the Fighting Illini in Big Ten play to halt a four-game losing streak.Lenzelle Smith Jr. made four 3-pointers while scoring 16 points for Ohio State (16-4, 3-4). Aaron Craft contributed 11 points, six rebounds and five assists as the Buckeyes ended their worst losing skid since the 2007-08 campaign.Joseph Bertrand scored 19 points on 7-of-10 shooting for Illinois (13-7, 2-5), which lost its fifth consecutive contest. Jon Ekey added 11 points and Nnanna Egwu had 10 points and nine rebounds for the Illini.The contest was tied at 46 before Ross drained a 3-pointer and Smith scored on a layup to give Ohio State a five-point lead with 3:50 to play. The Illini were within two after Tracy Abrams hit two free throws before Ross converted a three-point play and Smith drained a 3-pointer to make it 58-50 with 1:14 left.Illinois led 25-24 at halftime despite shooting only 38.5 percent from the field but the Buckeyes were even worse at 29.2. Ohio State used a 9-0 run in the second half to take a 40-34 advantage on a 3-pointer by Sam Thompson with just over 12 minutes to play.GAME NOTEBOOK: Ross has scored in double digits in 13 of the last 15 games. … Illinois leading scorer Rayvonte Rice went scoreless and missed all eight of his shots. … Craft had two steals to raise his career count to 295, five behind former Michigan star Gary Grant (300 from 1984-88) for second place in Big Ten history.
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