Local Teams

National Basketball Association
Ohio St. 87, Illinois 81
When: 12:00 PM ET, Saturday, January 16, 2021
Where: State Farm Center, Champaign, Illinois
Officials: # Larry Scirotto, # Robert Riley, # Bo Boroski
Attendance: 175

E.J. Liddell scored a career-high 26 points in the return to his home state to lift No. 21 Ohio State to an 87-81 win over No. 14 Illinois on Saturday in Champaign, Ill.

The previous best for Liddell, the 2018 and 2019 Illinois Mr. Basketball, was 21 points last month against Rutgers.

On Saturday, Liddell made 10 of 16 field goals -- including 4 of 7 on 3-point attempts. He had made three from beyond the arc this season entering the game.

The Buckeyes (11-3, 5-3 Big Ten) led by 15 at the half en route to winning their third straight.

Justin Ahrens, Seth Towns and Duane Washington Jr. each had 11 points for the Buckeyes.

For the Illini (9-5, 5-3), Ayo Dosunmu led with 22 points followed by Kofi Cockburn (15) and Adam Miller (14).

The Buckeyes were up by 18 in the first half and 43-28 at the half but they could not put it away.

The game turned into a series of shots from the line as Ohio State's Justice Sueing and Dosunmu exchanged a pair of free throws, and Washington hit both of his with 23 seconds left to put the Buckeyes ahead 83-78.

Miller made a triple with 15 seconds left, as the Illini cut the deficit to 83-81, only to see Washington make two free throws with 13 seconds left. Musa Jallow added two more for the Buckeyes with two seconds on the clock.

Liddell missed all six of his shots from the floor in the 81-71 win over Northwestern on Wednesday. However, he led all scorers with 13 points through 20 minutes against Illinois and led a 15-0 run with eight points to break a tie at 15 and give Ohio State a 30-15 lead.

The next games for the Buckeyes and Illini have been indirectly affected by the COVID-19 issues in the Penn State program.

Ohio State hosts Purdue on Tuesday in a game originally scheduled for Jan. 27. Illinois' home game vs. the Nittany Lions was moved from Wednesday to Tuesday.

--Field Level Media

Top Game Performances
Ohio St.   Illinois
E.J. Liddell 26 Scoring Ayo Dosunmu 22
Justice Sueing 4 Assists Ayo Dosunmu 5
E.J. Liddell 7 Rebounds Kofi Cockburn 11
Justice Sueing 5 Free Throws Made Ayo Dosunmu 9
Justice Sueing 2 Steals Ayo Dosunmu 2
Musa Jallow 1 Blocks Jacob Grandison 1
Team Stats Summary
Team Points FG% 3PM-3PA FTM-FTA Assists Rebounds Blocks Steals Turnovers
Ohio St. 87 53.7 11-21 18-23 12 27 1 6 14
Illinois 81 48.3 9-26 14-20 15 28 1 6 10