Halftime Lead Slips Away As Illini Fall To Buckeyes


Published on December 6 2018 7:18 am
Last Updated on December 6 2018 7:18 am

CHICAGO (AP) — Trent Frazier and Kipper Nichols scored 18 apiece on Wednesday in Chicago, but Illinois let a halftime lead slip away in a 77-67 loss to No. 19 Ohio State at the United Center.  

Keyshawn Woods scored 12 of his 18 points in the second half for the Buckeyes, Kaleb Wesson added 13 and Musa Jallow had 11 points and nine rebounds as Ohio State (8-1) improved to 2-0 in the Big Ten.

The Buckeyes were 12 of 21 (57.1 percent) in the second half to flip the game. The Illini went 9 for 33 (27.3 percent) after halftime.

Illinois has lost 12 in a row against ranked teams. The school's last victory over a Top 25 opponent was 68-66 over No. 20 Iowa in the second round of the 2016 Big Ten Tournament.

The game was played at the United Center, where the Illini entered with a 37-15 record.

Ohio State had a 30-22 lead with just under six minutes remaining in the first half before the Illini closed with a 16-4 run for a 38-34 halftime lead.

The frustration for Buckeyes coach Chris Holtmann boiled over midway through the spurt when he picked up a technical foul for protesting a no-call at the Ohio State basket.

Aaron Jordan made one of the two technical free throws to give Illinois a 31-30 lead with 2:48 left.

Both teams shot 40 percent from the field in the first half, but the difference was Illinois going 15 for 19 at the free throw line, compared to 7 of 12 for Ohio State.

The Illini maintained a slim lead for the first several minutes of the second half, but the Buckeyes went back on top, 52-51, on a scoop shot by Duane Washington Jr. with 13:26 to play.

That basket was part of a 15-2 run as Ohio State turned a 51-48 deficit into a 63-53 lead with nine minutes to go.


Ohio State: After playing three games in eight days — including a loss to Syracuse in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge — the Buckeyes get nine days off before returning to the court.

UP NEXT: Illinois (2-7, 0-2) returns to Champaign to host UNLV on Saturday, Dec. 8 (1 pm CT).

Illinois Postgame Notes


• Illinois made its annual appearance at the United Center in Chicago. It was the 53rd game the Illini have played at the United Center, dating back to the 1994-95 season. Illinois now owns an all-time record of 37-16 (.700) at the UC.

• Illinois has four players on its roster from Chicagoland: Ayo Dosunmu (Chicago), Aaron Jordan (Plainfield), Samson Oladimeji (Rolling Meadows) and Drew Cayce (Libertyville).

•Illinois is now 105-78 all-time against Ohio State.

• The Illini outscored the Buckeyes 16-4 in the last six minutes of the first half, turning a 30-22 defecit into a 38-34 lead to end the first half.

• Illinois hit 15-of-19 free throws in the first half, equaling or surpassing full-game season high totals in each category. Entering the game, Illini highs were 14 for makes and 19 for attempts.

• UI went on to set season-highs in free throw percentage, free throws made and free throws attempted, shooting 85 percent making 23 of its 27 attempts.


• Redshirt junior Kipper Nichols recorded a new season-best with 18 points against Ohio State, going six of 11 from the field.

• Sophomore Trent Frazier also scored 18 points and set a new career-high by grabbing five rebounds.      

• Senior Aaron Jordan swiped a season-high four steals against the Buckeyes.