COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) – Ayo Dosunmu returned after missing three games with a concussion and facial injuries to score 19 points, and No. 4 Illinois rallied to beat No. 7 Ohio State 73-68.
Andre Curbelo also had 19 points as Illinois got its second straight road win over a top 10 team after routing No. 2 Michigan on Tuesday. The Illini have won 11 of 12 and enter next week’s Big Ten Tournament with a double-bye.
E.J. Liddell led the Buckeyes with 19 points, and Duane Washington Jr. and Justice Sueing each had 15.
Illinois led by 10 during first half but a late put-back by Liddell cut the advantage to 41-37 at the break. The teams traded punches in the second half, but again Ohio State had trouble making shots down the stretch, missing on its last 10 attempts.
Illinois is peaking at the right time and brimming with confidence after beating top 10 teams in back-to-back games for the first time since the 2005 NCAA Tournament. The Illini should move up to No. 3 in the AP poll. The Buckeyes showed an inability to finish in their most rigorous and disastrous stretch of the season.
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Walker and Young were recognized on Ohio State’s senior day. Walker has already said he wants to move to pro basketball, but Young hasn’t said yet whether he’ll take advantage of the extra year of eligibility awarded by the NCAA to all players because of COVID-19. Young has played four years but has battled injuries for the last three. Walker is finishing his second season after transferring from Florida State. Both have graduated.
The Big Ten tournament begins Wednesday in Indianapolis.
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