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Champaign,  IL (SportsNetwork.com) - Aaron Craft led with 14 points as the No. 
22  Ohio State Buckeyes defeated the Illinois Fighting Illini, 48-39, at State 
Farm Center. 

LaQuinton  Ross  supplied nine points and  six rebounds, while Marc Loving had 
eight  points off the bench for the Buckeyes (20-6, 7-6 Big Ten), who have won 
four of their last five. 

Tracy  Abrams scored  13 points, Rayvonte Rice contributed 11, and Nnanna Egwu 
had  14  boards for  the Fighting Illini (14-12, 3-10),  who have dropped two 
straight  and 10  of their last 11. Illinois shot 28.3 percent (15-of-53) from 
the field. 

"Obviously our offense was anemic today. I thought Ohio State's defense had a 
lot to do with that. They imposed their will defensively." said Illinois coach 
John Groce. 

Craft's 3-point play brought the Buckeyes within 10-9 nearly five minutes into 
the game. Craft accounted for seven of Ohio State's first nine points. 

A  few minutes later, Egwu tipped in Joseph Bertrand's miss and Abrams knocked 
down a three to give the Illini a 15-9 lead 

Ross'  layup ignited a  7-2 run that contained a three from Amedeo Della Valle 
and a layup from Shannon Scott that capped the run at 7:47 to get the Buckeyes 
within 17-16. 

Trailing  23-20 at the  break, Ross drained a three to tie the game 22 seconds 
into the half. 

Craft  knocked down a  three in the midst of a 7-0 spurt for the Buckeyes that 
ended  with  a jumper from Lenzelle  Smith Jr. that  made it a 30-25 game with 
13:28 to go. 

Illinois  got within one  on a pair of free throws from Abrams, but Ohio State 
built  a  healthy lead  thanks to a  12-0 run. Loving  was strong, scoring the 
final eight points to give the Buckeyes a 42-29 lead with 5:25 remaining. 

Rice's  triple and  two layups gave the Fighting Illini six straight points to 
make  it  44-39 with a  minute left. Smith  and Craft both  hit a pair of free 
throws to account for the final score. 

                                   Game Notes 

Ohio  State has  won the  last three  games  and four  of the  last five  over 
Illinois  ... Illinois  held a  36-34 rebounding  edge ...  Ohio State  had 17 
points  off  the bench compared to Illinois' two ... The Fighting Illini were 
outscored in the paint, 20-12. 

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