INDIANAPOLIS, Indiana (WCMH) — Ohio State’s bid for its first Big Ten Championship since 2013 fell just short as the Buckeyes lost 91-88 to Illinois in an overtime thriller on Sunday.
The Buckeyes committed two unforced turnovers in the final 75 seconds of the game forcing OSU to foul Illinois. The Fighting Illini sealed the game from the free throw line to win the Big Ten title.
Despite the loss, Ohio State improved its tournament seeding with wins over Minnesota, No. 20 Purdue and No. 4 Michigan to reach the title game. Prior to the conference tournament, OSU lost four games in a row to end the regular season.
Duane Washington put on a stellar performance with 32 points on 12-of-20 shooting.
Ohio State overcame two separate double-digit deficits to force the overtime.
The Buckeyes trailed by as many as 17 points in the first half but ripped off a 19-9 run to pull within five points at halftime. The Buckeyes made it a two-point game with just under 15 minutes left, but Illinois responded with a 10-1 run to take a 59-49 lead.
Once again, Ohio State wouldn’t go away as Duane Washington, Justice Sueing and CJ Walker pulled the Buckeyes within one point with just under eight minutes to play.
OSU tied the game with six minutes left and took its first lead with 5:36 left in the game. The Buckeyes and Fighting Illini traded baskets during the last five minutes of regulation to send the game into OT.
Ohio State will find out its tournament seeding within the hour.