CHICAGO – Keyshawn Woods scored 12 of his 18 points in the second half, Kaleb Wesson added 13 and No. 19 Ohio State rallied in the second half for a 77-67 victory over Illinois on Wednesday night.
Musa Jallow had 11 points and nine rebounds as Ohio State (8-1) improved to 2-0 in the Big Ten.
Trent Frazier and Kipper Nichols scored 18 apiece as Illinois (2-7, 0-2) dropped its third straight.
The Buckeyes were 12 of 21 (57.1 percent) in the second half to flip the game. The Illini went 9 for 33 (27.3 percent) after halftime.
Illinois has lost 12 in a row against ranked teams. The school’s last victory over a Top 25 opponent was 68-66 over No. 20 Iowa in the second round of the 2016 Big Ten Tournament.
The game was played at the United Center, where the Illini entered with a 37-15 record.
Ohio State had a 30-22 lead with just under six minutes remaining in the first half before the Illini closed with a 16-4 run for a 38-34 halftime lead.
The frustration for Buckeyes coach Chris Holtmann boiled over midway through the spurt when he picked up a technical foul for protesting a no-call at the Ohio State basket.
Aaron Jordan made one of the two technical free throws to give Illinois a 31-30 lead with 2:48 left.
Both teams shot 40 percent from the field in the first half, but the difference was Illinois going 15 for 19 at the free throw line, compared to 7 of 12 for Ohio State.
The Illini maintained a slim lead for the first several minutes of the second half, but the Buckeyes went back on top, 52-51, on a scoop shot by Duane Washington Jr. with 13:26 to play.
That basket was part of a 15-2 run as Ohio State turned a 51-48 deficit into a 63-53 lead with nine minutes to go.
Ohio State notes: After playing three games in eight days – including a loss to Syracuse in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge – the Buckeyes get nine days off before returning to the court.
Illinois notes: The Illini’s two wins are against Evansville and Mississippi Valley State. They don’t have any glaring losses and have played tough against good teams, but a win against a major program is sorely needed.