Feb 15, 2014; Champaign, IL, USA; Ohio State Buckeyes head coach Thad Matta watches his team during a game against the Illinois Fighting Illini at Assembly Hall. Mandatory Credit: Ben Woloszyn-USA TODAY Sports

Illinois Fighting Illini Basketball: Illinois Sputters and Loses to Ohio State Again

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Tonight’s performance by the Ohio State Buckeyes and Illinois Fighting Illini was enough to make you want to double over in pain. It was ugly, with a capital U. Thankfully, it’s over. Unfortunately for Illini fans it ended with yet another loss.

The final? Ohio State 48 Illinois 39.

The Illini shot 28.3% from the field, and 31.3% from 3 point range. The Buckeyes weren’t much better, but they were good enough to leave the State Farm Center with the W.

Illinois had a pair of performances that were great to see, and they deserve recognition for their efforts.

Tracy Abrams re-emerged offensively after quite the dry spell. He led Illinois in scoring with 13 points, and he was 3-5 from long range. Illinois fans everywhere have been wondering what has happened to his offense recently so it was very nice to see him show up tonight with a completely different on court mentality. He was in attack mode from the outset.

Nnanna Egwu set a new career high with 13 rebounds. He added 6 points and 3 blocks as well. He was hands down the player of the game for the Illini. It seems pretty clear that someone lit a fire underneath him because we haven’t seen this version of Egwu in quite some time for Illinois.

Ohio State only had one scorer reach double digits, and it’s shocking that it wasn’t LaQuinton Ross. Aaron Craft finished the game with 14 points to lead Ohio State to victory. Ross was held to 9 points, and Lenzelle Smith, Jr. was held to 4 points. If someone had told me before this game that Ross and Smith, Jr. would combine for 13 points I would have thought that Illinois would have walked out of the State Farm Center with a win. Sadly, this wasn’t the case tonight.

Illinois returns to action Wednesday night when they travel to Minneapolis to face the Minnesota Golden Gophers in an 8 pm CST contest.

You can follow Ryan on Twitter @RPKraemer.

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Tags: Illinois Fighting Illini Nnanna Egwu Tracy Abrams

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