All week long the players and coaches of the Ohio State men’s basketball team stressed the importance of being ready for every Big Ten game.
“Every game in the Big Ten is going to be a tough game,” said junior point guard Aaron Craft.
The Buckeyes learned how true that statement was, the hard way, while being routed by Illinois, 74-55, on Saturday in Champaign, Ill.
OSU looked flat and sloppy from the opening tip and trailed by double-digits for most of the game. In fact, the Buckeyes played so poorly that they committed nearly as many turnovers, 16, as they had made shots, 20. OSU was also outrebounded, 39-28.
OSU junior forward Deshaun Thomas led all scorers with 24 points, but it wasn’t enough for an OSU team that’s still searching for a second scorer to assist Thomas. Against Illinois, the rest of the Buckeyes shot a combined 28 percent from the floor for 31 points.
Senior guard Brandon Paul led Illinois (14-2) in scoring with 19 points on 6-12 shooting. The Illini had four players score in double figures.
OSU is now 0-3 against opponents ranked in the Associated Press top-25 poll. As it stands, OSU has been defeated by the No. 1, No. 5 and No. 11-ranked teams in the country.
With the loss OSU falls to 11-3 on the season and 1-1 in Big Ten play. The Buckeyes play next on the road against Purdue on Jan. 8. Purdue defeated Illinois in its Big Ten opener on Jan. 2.