COLUMBUS, Ohio — Ohio State had eight games remaining in the regular season after their hard-fought road victory at Indiana on Sunday.
They came into this game against Illinois on Thursday night with a 6-6 Big Ten record and will most likely have to finish .500 or better in conference play in order to make it back to the NCAA Tournament.
The Buckeyes did themselves no favors in their pursuit of March Madness as they fell to a 9-15 Illinois team at home on Thursday night, 63-56.
It was not an ideal start for Ohio State as they found themselves trailing Illinois 15-12 at the under-12 media timeout.
The Fighting Illini had elevated all the way to a nine-point lead with 4:21 left in the first half, but the Buckeyes would fight back to cut their deficit to 30-27 at the half.
Illinois managed to extend their lead to 40-33 in the opening minutes of the second half, but Ohio State would come back to tie the game at 40 and eventually take a 45-44 lead on a posterizing dunk by Duane Washington Jr. and a foul free throw with 8:28 remaining in the game.
The Buckeyes found themselves trailing 55-51 with 2:19 remaining when Kaleb Wesson fouled out of the game and Illinois managed to escape Columbus with a 63-56 victory.
It was a contradictory night for senior guard C.J. Jackson on the stats sheet as he led the Buckeyes with a game-high 17 points but also a game-high seven turnovers.
Junior forward Andre Wesson continued to show that he is a consistent scoring threat as he posted a 10-point, five-rebound performance in the loss.
Sophomore forward Kaleb Wesson managed to reach double digits against Illinois with 11 points and also grabbed five rebounds before fouling out with over two minutes remaining.
It was a tale of the turnovers yet again for Ohio State as the Buckeyes turned the ball over 18 times against Illinois, leading to 14 Illini points.
The Ryan Day Regime
Once again, the attention of Buckeye Nation was turned to the football team during the middle of a men’s basketball game as, during halftime of Thursday night’s game between Ohio State and Illinois, new head football coach Ryan Day was introduced and addressed the excited crowd of ravenous Buckeye fans.
Day also introduced his new coaching staff for the 2019 season. You can watch full video of the halftime ceremony below:
You can get to know more about Ohio State’s new coaching staff here.
With the loss, Ohio State falls to 16-8 on the season and 6-7 in Big Ten conference play. With just seven games remaining in the regular season, the Buckeyes will have to make a serious run down the stretch to make their way into the NCAA Tournament.
The road ahead for Ohio State won’t get any easier as they will now hit the road for a tough matchup with No. 11 Michigan State this Sunday, February 17th at the Jack Breslin Center. Tip-off on Sunday is scheduled for 1:00pm ET and the game will be televised on CBS.
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