Illinois runs away from Ohio State for its fifth win in six games

CHAMPAIGN — A few days off worked well for Illinois, as the team responded with a bang after its loss to Indiana.

Terrence Shannon Jr. had a game-high 17 points as Illinois beat Ohio State 69-60 on Tuesday. The Illini (14-6, 5-4 Big Ten) held Ohio State (11-9, 3-6) to 36.7 percent from the field and held freshman and future NBA draft pick Brice Sensabaugh to just five points in the last 12 minutes . The Illini also outshot the Buckeyes 44-30.

Ohio State jumped out to an early lead, but a 9-1 run led by Shannon gave it back to Illinois. A Shannon layup later and a Matthew Meyer 3 extended the lead to double digits late in the first before Illinois took a 34-26 halftime lead.

Illinois had a shaky offense early, with three turnovers in the first 4½ minutes, but finished with just five in the first half. Better execution meant sharp shots from Shannon and some open jump shots from Meyer and Coleman Hawkins.

Dain Dainja went to the bench early in the first game in foul trouble, with two fouls in six minutes, so Brandon Lieb got spot minutes again for the Illini. Hawkins also played the five for much of the half. Hawkins finished with 11 points, nine rebounds and six assists.

His primary defensive assignment up top was guarding Ohio State freshman and projected first-round pick Brice Sensabo. Sensabaugh is the Buckeyes’ leading scorer and entered the game averaging 17.5 points. He got into foul trouble early and had nine first-half points on 3-for-7 shooting before finishing with 14 points on 5-for-13 shooting from the field.

Illinois scored the first four points after the break and then a pair of 3-pointers by Jaden Epps were part of a 10-0 run that extended the lead to 17 with 15:13 left. Epps was inserted into Sencire Harris’ starting lineup and had – in his second career start, his first on Dec. 17 against Alabama A&M.

A 7-0 run by Ohio State midway through the half cut the lead to single digits before Illinois had another run to run away with it. Ty Rogers and Coleman Hawkins traded passes for touchdowns to put Illinois up 16 with 6:17 left. Rodgers recorded four points and eight rebounds in 16 minutes off the bench.

Illinois then travels to Wisconsin (12-6, 4-4) to play Saturday at 2 p.m.

Follow Anderson Kimball on Twitter at: by Andy Kimball

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