No. 14 Illinois routs No. 8 Ohio State
No. 14 Illinois 74, No. 8 Ohio State 55: Brandon Paul had 19 points and seven rebounds and the Fighting Illini never trailed while routing the visiting Buckeyes in Big Ten play.
Nnanna Egwu had 16 points and eight rebounds and Tracy Abrams added 13 points as Illinois (14-2, 1-1) built a 16-point, first-half lead en route to improving to 8-0 at home.
Deshaun Thomas scored 24 points but Ohio State (11-3, 1-1) shot just 33.3 percent, committed 16 turnovers and set a season low for points scored while dropping to 0-2 on the road.
The Fighting Illini scored the game’s first five points and steadily stretched out the lead. Joseph Bertrand’s layup capped an 8-0 run that gave Illinois a 25-11 lead midway through the first half and Egwu’s jumper made it 37-21 with 2:20 to go.
The Buckeyes trailed by 12 at halftime and then scored just one basket over the first five minutes of the second half. Bertrand’s jumper culminated a 13-2 surge that gave Illinois a 50-27 lead with 15:05 to play. The Fighting Illini’s largest lead was 25 points.
GAME NOTEBOOK: The victory was only Illinois’ fourth in its last 14 meetings with the Buckeyes. … Thomas has reached 20 points seven times and has scored in double digits in all 14 games. … Illinois had a 39-28 edge on the boards.
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