Wow. Thursday night's BTN schedule featured a truly horrifying display of basketball from the Illinois Fighting Illini (10-11, 2-6) and Ohio State Buckeyes (14-8, 6-3), but the two teams managed to make things very interesting down the stretch. After trailing by double-digits for a good portion of the second half, Illinois battled back and eventually tied things up on a Jalen Coleman-Lands three-pointer with less than a minute remaining in regulation.
COL3MAN LANDS pic.twitter.com/nTBU0hcTfd— The Champaign Room (@Champaign_Room) January 29, 2016
It was a tightly contested game in overtime, but the battle concluded in a truly dizzying affair that featured a loose ball and questionable no-call from the officiating crew. The end result was a two-possession Buckeye lead with only seconds to go.
Kendrick Nunn led the way for Illinois with 24 points and 5 rebounds on 7-15 shooting from the field (5-11 3PT). Trevor Thompson came off the bench and scored a team-high 16 points (7-7 shooting) for Ohio State.
Here's what we learned from the game.
1. Illinois' point guard production is unacceptable
Jaylon Tate and Khalid Lewis combined for 2 points and 4 assists tonight. That is absolutely terrible. We've been discussing Illinois' point guard woes for a few years now, but the problem has almost been ignored this season thanks to all the injuries. However, when combined with zero offensive post presence, the two lead guards need to make some sort of positive impact.
There's pretty much no chance that Illinois' duo makes a notable improvement before the season ends, so all we can do is hope that incoming freshman Te'Jon Lucas shows an ability to make shots next year.
2. The rebounding margin killed Illinois
Ohio State out-rebounded Illinois 51-34 on Thursday night. That's not a recipe for success.
From an offensive perspective, it's hard to place blame on any one individual for not generating any second-chance opportunities because it's clear that Illinois' strategy entails abandoning points in favor of defense. But the Buckeyes had 13 offensive rebounds in this game. There really isn't any excuse for that.
3. More of the same for Illinois Athletics
This hasn't exactly been a banner week for the Orange & Blue.
January 29, 2016
Illinois Fighting Illini Stats
Ohio State Buckeyes Stats