CHAMPAIGN, Ill. (AP) — Jon Diebler scored 18 points, hitting six 3-pointers, to lead No. 13 Ohio State to a 72-53 win over Illinois on Sunday.
David Lighty added 17 points and Evan Turner came within two assists of a triple double with 16 points, 11 rebounds and eight assists.
The win kept the Buckeyes in a first-place tie in the Big Ten with Michigan State. The Illini fell from the top spot and are a game back of the leaders.
After falling behind by one early, the Buckeyes (20-6, 10-3 Big Ten) used an 18-6 run to finish the Illini (17-9, 9-4) off early.
Illinois’ first and last lead came just over two minutes into the game at 4-3 on a Mike Davis bucket on a fast break.
From there, Illinois struggled to find the basket. Ohio State, meanwhile, took over.
A single free throw from Turner with 17:40 to play in the first half started the Buckeyes on an 18-6 run that gave them a 21-10 and dug the Illini a deep hole.
Diebler ended that run with a 3-pointer — he hit two during that span — and the Buckeyes hit five of their six shots from the field.
From there, the Buckeyes coasted into halftime with a 36-20 lead.
Demetri McCamey led Illinois with nine points — nearly seven short of his average.
The much talked-about matchup between high school teammates McCamey and Turner turned into, for the most part, Turner’s show. Both went to St. Joseph High school in Bellwood, a Chicago suburb.
Turner’s 16 points came mostly in the second half, but eight of his 11 rebounds were in the first 20 minutes and were a big piece of why the Buckeyes led by 16 at the half.
McCamey, on the other hand, didn’t hit his first field goal until there was 11:46 to play in the game. Down 49-34 even after the basket, the game was all but out of reach for Illinois.
The look of disgust on Illinois junior Bill Cole’s face after one miss with 15 minutes to play in the game summed up the afternoon for the Illini.
Trailing 15 at 41-26, Cole was fouled as he shot from under the basket. He rolled his eyes skyward in disbelief as the shot rolled around the rim and fell harmlessly to the floor.
He missed his first free throw before hitting the second, leaving the Illini down 41-27. They wouldn’t get much closer.
Illinois closed to within 14 on a short bucket from D.J. Richardson with 14:05 to play, but Diebler answered 15 seconds later with one of his collection of threes to extend the Buckeyes’ lead back to 46-29.
While the Buckeyes shot 53 percent for the game, Illinois struggled with Ohio State’s zone defense.
The Illini hit 34.3 percent of their shots for the game and just 29 percent in the decisive first half.
They shot a lot in the first 20 minutes, but not particularly well, hitting nine of their 31 attempts. And they didn’t make it to the free throw line until 19 minutes had passed.
McCamey’s contribution, meanwhile, was limited to six assists and a single free throw. He missed all of his four shots from the field.