CHAMPAIGN, Ill. (AP) — Terrence Shannon Jr. scored 12 of his 17 points in the first half, Jayden Epps added 14 points in his second career start and Illinois beat Ohio State 69-60 on Tuesday night.
Illinois scored six straight points, spanning halftime, to build a 38-26 lead early in the second half. Ohio State scored the next five points before Epps opened and closed a 10-0 run with 3-pointers to extend it to 48-31. The Buckeyes wouldn’t get closer than eight points the rest of the way.
After the game, Shannon discussed his role on the team.
“They always want me aggressive,” Shannon said. “And I’m pretty hard to stop going downhill. And whether it’s kicking it out to an open teammate or finishing. It’s what I do, I just stay aggressive.”
Matthew Mayer had 12 points and eight rebounds and Coleman Hawkins added 11 points, nine rebounds, six assists and three blocks for Illinois (14-6, 5-4 Big Ten), which has won five of its last six games. Shannon made all nine of his free-throw attempts, grabbed seven rebounds and dished out three assists.
Illinois ranks third in the country in blocked shots at 6.1 per game and finished with six against Ohio State. Illinois shot 41% despite making just 5 of 28 from 3-point range and Ohio State was 22 of 60 (37%). The Illini outrebounded Ohio State 44-30 and had a 16-1 advantage in fast-break points.
Illinois head coach Brad Underwood says Illini fans were important Tuesday night.
“It’s always fun to play in front of the best fans in college basketball. It’s great to have the Orange Krush back, and them rocking,” Underwood said. “There’s a, there’s just a different electricity with them here. I love having those guys here. I love, you know, chatting with them before the game and it just creates a different vibe.”
Brice Sensabaugh scored 14 points and Justice Sueing added 13 for Ohio State (11-9, 3-6). Sensabaugh was coming off a season-high 27 points in a win over Iowa on Saturday before being named the conference’s freshman of the week for a fourth time this season. Sensabaugh has led the Buckeyes in scoring in 11 consecutive games.
Both teams play again on Saturday. Illinois travels north to face Wisconsin and Ohio State continues its road trip against Indiana.
Illinois Student Newsroom reporter Colin Hislope contributed reporting to this story.