Ohio State traveled to Champaign to battle the 15th ranked Fighting Illini. In their previous contest, Ohio State beat the Hoosiers 80-69. Illinois also won their last game against Michigan State 79-74. Illinois was hot out of the gate. Illinois guard Alfonso Plummer was practically automatic as he knocked down five out of six three-point attempts, and before you could blink, Illinois had a 14 point lead over Ohio State. Forward E.J Liddell got off to a sluggish start as he missed his first three shots. Malaki Branham knocked down a jump shot that cut the Fighting Illini lead to six points. Branham was just getting started. It is a tough task at hand anytime a team has to go up against a center who is 7’0 foot and weighs 285 pounds in Kofi Cockburn. Ohio State did their best by double-teaming Cockburn when he had the ball. Buckeyes forward Kyle Young stepped up in a big way, as he provided plenty of offense off the bench. Heading into halftime the score was Illinois 37 Ohio State 36.

E.J Liddell gave the Buckeyes the lead as he knocked down a fade-away jump shot. As Ohio State’s offense started to heat up, their defense applied plenty of pressure which caused multiple shots to be blocked. Malaki Branham drained a three from behind the arc, which gave the Buckeyes a 9 point advantage. Branham was an unstoppable force, as he collected 21 points with over 11 minutes remaining in the game. Ohio State widened their lead, as they found themselves up by 15 points, and it seemed like smooth sailing from that point on. A big blow to Illinois was when Kofi Cockburn bumped into Kyle Young and was charged with his fifth foul, thus fouling out of the game. That did not matter, as Illinois never wavered. Alfonso Plummer drained another three-pointer to keep the game intact, and Illinois went on an 8-0 run to cut the Buckeye lead to 78-74 with two minutes remaining.

google.com, pub-2319592412860037, DIRECT, f08c47fec0942fa0

Ohio State made a big mistake turning the ball over, which allowed Illinois to score an easy basket to put them within striking distance. Ohio State squeaked out an 86-83 win over Illinois. Malaki Branham played his best game of the year thus far, scoring 31 points, two rebounds, and one assist. Ohio State improves to 18 wins and seven losses. They have a conference record of 11 wins and five losses and sit in 4th place in the Big Ten. The 22nd ranked Buckeyes will stay on the road as they face Maryland this Sunday.


About Author

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

HTML Snippets Powered By : XYZScripts.com