BIG TEN Illinois strikes early to defeat Buckeyes

Ohio State went over six minutes without a field goal to open the game.
CHAMPAIGN, Ill. (AP) -- Illinois made quick work of Ohio State for its 14th straight home victory.
Illinois went on a big run early while Ohio State missed its first eight shot attempts and was held without a field goal for the opening 6 minutes, 45 seconds, in the No. 16 Illini's 76-57 victory Sunday.
"I think the game was lost within the first eight minutes," Ohio State coach Jim O'Brien said. "They came out seemingly like gangbusters. We really needed to keep pace early and we couldn't do that."
The Illini (16-4, 6-3 Big Ten) opened the game with a 17-1 run and built a 30-6 lead while holding Ohio State (11-10, 4-6) to 24 percent shooting in the first half. Illinois also forced eight turnovers and led 49-22 at halftime.
Brian Cook scored 22 points and reserve Roger Powell added 14 for Illinois, which made a season-high 12 3-pointers.
Led by as much as 32 points
The Illini had a 32-point lead early in the second half before the Buckeyes went on a 14-0 run. Brent Darby scored seven points during the run as Ohio State cut Illinois' lead to 16 with 7:58 remaining. Ohio State never got the lead under double digits but the spurt still angered Illinois coach Bill Self.
"The last 15 minutes was probably the worst 15 minutes of basketball we have played this year," Self said. "But still, the first 20, 25 may have been the best we've played all year."
The win snapped a three-game losing streak to the Buckeyes, which included a loss in last season's Big Ten tournament.
"Ohio State has ended our season the last couple of years," Cook said. "We seniors kept on telling the younger guys that we needed to get this one."
Darby lead the Buckeyes with 20 points, but was just 6-of-21 from the field. Ohio State fell to 1-5 on the road.
"We were down 25-30 points. We just decided to play hard and forget about the score," Darby said. "We went on a little run but by that time it was too late."
Powell was 5-of-5 for the Illini, who shot 50 percent from the field. Illinois also went 12-of-28 from 3-point range and held the Buckeyes to 31 percent shooting.
Darren Williams tied a career-high with 12 points for Illinois on 4-of-7 shooting from 3-point range.
Buckeyes still short-handed
The Buckeyes were playing short-handed for the second straight game. Velimir Radinovic, the team's second-leading scorer, missed the game with a compound dislocation of his pinkie. Guard Sean Connolly also sat out with an ankle injury.
"It would be easy to sit back and say 'Woe is me. We don't have our guys,' " O'Brien said. "We had to make sure these kids played hard. I was very, very conscious that we continue to coach these kids and do the right thing."

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