National Basketball Association
Illinois 73, Ohio St. 68
When: 4:00 PM ET, Saturday, March 6, 2021
Where: Value City Arena, Columbus, Ohio
Officials: # Robert Riley, # Larry Scirotto, # Paul Szelc
Attendance: N/A

Ayo Dosunmu returned to the lineup after missing three games and broke a late tie by scoring the final five points as No. 4 Illinois defeated No. 7 Ohio State 73-68 at Columbus, Ohio, on Saturday.

Dosunmu and Andre Curbelo each scored 19 points for Illinois (20-6, 16-4 Big Ten), which has won four consecutive games.

E.J. Liddell had 19 points for the Buckeyes (18-8, 12-8), while Duane Washington Jr. added 15. Ohio State has lost four consecutive games.

A 3-pointer by Liddell gave the Buckeyes a 68-64 lead with 3:48 left.

A Dosunmu free throw and a 3-pointer by Da'Monte Williams made it 68-all with 1:33 remaining before Dosunmu made a basket and free throw after Justice Sueing fouled him with 44 seconds remaining

Dosunmu added two more free throw with 25 seconds remaining to push the Illini lead to 73-68.

The Buckeyes defeated the Illini 87-81 on Jan. 16 behind 26 points by Liddell, an Illinois native. He tried to carry his team again, scoring seven straight points for a 63-59 lead with 6 1/2 minutes remaining before Illinois rallied.

Illinois got a boost with the performance by the national player-of the-year candidate Dosunmu. He was out of the lineup with facial injuries sustained against Michigan State on Feb. 23. Illini coach Brad Underwood said Tuesday that Dosunmu, who averages 21.0 points, 6.3 rebounds and 5.3 assists, also had been in concussion protocol.

Dosunmu and Kofi Cockburn combined to go 10 of 12 from the floor for 21 points in the first half when the Illinois threatened to blow the game open.

But the Buckeyes scored the final five points on a Justin Ahrens 3-pointer and a jumper by Liddell to pull to within 41-37 at the half.

It was another strong start on the road for the Illinois, which played its third straight away game after a 74-69 win against No. 23 Wisconsin last Saturday and a 76-53 victory against second-ranked Michigan on Tuesday.

--Field Level Media

Top Game Performances
Illinois   Ohio St.
Andre Curbelo 19 Scoring E.J. Liddell 19
Andre Curbelo 6 Assists Duane Washington Jr. 6
Kofi Cockburn 6 Rebounds Justice Sueing 8
Andre Curbelo 6 Free Throws Made Justice Sueing 6
Giorgi Bezhanishvili 1 Steals CJ Walker 2
Giorgi Bezhanishvili 1 Blocks Zed Key 2
Team Stats Summary
Team Points FG% 3PM-3PA FTM-FTA Assists Rebounds Blocks Steals Turnovers
Illinois 73 51.9 4-12 15-24 12 34 1 4 11
Ohio St. 68 40.0 9-29 7-11 10 31 5 4 9