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Dec 22, 2001%^$

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%^$%^$Box Score|%^$Quotes|%^$Notes%^$%^$

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%^$Postgame audio:
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Head Coach Jim O’Brien
%^$ Eastern Illinois Head Coach Rick Samuels%^$

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COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) – Brian Brown had 18 points and nine rebounds as Ohio%^$State, behind a hot-shooting first half, beat Eastern Illinois 72-59 Saturday%^$night.%^$

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Boban Savovic added 16 points and made all four of the Buckeyes’ 3-pointers%^$as Ohio State (7-2) avoided its first three-game losing streak since the%^$1997-98 season.%^$

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Henry Domercant led the Panthers (7-5) with 20 points.%^$

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Both of Ohio State’s point guards suffered injuries. Starter Brent Darby sat%^$out the second half with a jammed finger and backup Brandon Fuss-Cheatham left%^$after crashing to the floor with 3:49 to play.%^$

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Fuss-Cheatham collided in the air with Eastern Illinois’ Ramon Taylor, who%^$went up for a layup, and had to be helped up by a trainer and coach Jim%^$O’Brien. Fuss-Cheatham walked off under his own power.%^$

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The Buckeyes committed 11 turnovers in the first half but took a 37-24 lead%^$by hitting 11-of-18 shots from the field and 14-of-23 free throws.%^$

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The Panthers also made 11 field goals – but that was on 35 shots – and%^$attempted just two free throws in the first half, making one.%^$

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The Buckeyes led by as many as 22 points in the second half and their lead%^$never dipped below 11 despite making only 9-of-26 shots after halftime.%^$

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Outmuscled in its last two games by Pittsburgh and Louisville, Ohio State%^$outrebounded Eastern Illinois 46-26. The Panthers had only nine rebounds in the%^$first half, six offensive.%^$

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Ohio State went scoreless for 2:42 late in the first half but still was able%^$to widen its lead – because Eastern Illinois had a nearly four-minute long%^$stretch without points.%^$

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Velimir Radinovic broke the Buckeyes’ drought on a dunk with 2:58 to play.%^$Brown then scored on a layup – following a Radinovic block – and Zach Williams%^$hit a jumper to give Ohio State a 35-23 lead with 1:49 to go.%^$

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Williams had eight points and eight rebounds, and Sean Connolly scored nine%^$for Ohio State. Jesse Mackinson scored eight points for Eastern Illinois.%^$

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It was the first meeting between the schools.