Ayo Dosunmu returned to the lineup after missing three games to score the final five points and break a 68-68 tie as No. 4 Illinois defeated No. 7 Ohio State 73-68 in Columbus, Ohio, on Saturday.
He and Andre Curbelo each had 19 points for the Illinois (20-6, 16-4 Big Ten), which has won four straight.
The Buckeyes (18-8, 12-8) were led by E,J. Liddell with 19 points and Duane Washington Jr. with 15. Ohio State has lost four straight.
A 3-pointer by Liddell gave the Buckeyes a 68-64 lead with 3:48 left.
Dosunmu's foul shot and a 3-pointer by Da'Monte Williams made it 68-68 with 90 seconds left before Dosunmu made a basket and free throw after Justice Sueing fouled him with 44 seconds left to make it 71-68.
Dosunmu then added two more free throw with 25 seconds left and the Illini led 73-68
The Buckeyes defeated the Illinois 87-81 on Jan. 16 behind 26 points by Liddell, an Illinois native. He tried to carry his team again, scoring seven straight points for a 63-59 lead with 6 frac12; minutes left before Illinois rallied.
Illinois got a boost with the performance by the national player of the year candidate Dosunmu. He was out of the lineup with facial injuries sustained against Michigan State on Feb. 23. Illini coach Brad Underwood said Tuesday that Dosunmu, who averages 21.0 points, 6.3 rebounds and 5.3 assists, had also been in concussion protocol.
Dosunmu and Kofi Cockburn combined to go 10 of 12 from the floor for 21 points in the first half when the Illinois threatened to blow the game open.
But the Buckeyes scored the final five points on a Justin Ahrens 3-pointer and a jumper by Liddell to pull to within 41-37 at the half.
It was another strong start on the road for the Illinois, which played its third straight away game after a 74-69 win against No. 23 Wisconsin and a 76-53 victory against second-ranked Michigan.
--Field Level Media