Diebler, Turner post 17 points each
COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) – Four days after mustering just 33 points in a pitiful home loss, the Illini placed three players in double figures led by Mike Davis’ 22 points and shot 58 percent from the field in a 70-68 victory over Ohio State on Sunday.
The victory kept the Illini (22-6, 10-5) alone in third place in the Big Ten and gave coach Bruce Weber his 150th win at the school. Weber improved to 150-53 in six seasons with the Illini and is 253-107 in 11 years as a head coach at Southern Illinois and Illinois.
Trent Meacham added 17 points, including several clutch shots down the stretch, while Demetri McCamey had 15 points and seven assists.
Jon Diebler and Evan Turner each had 17 points and William Buford added 14 for Ohio State (17-8, 7-7), which has lost three straight Big Ten games on the heels of winning four straight. The Buckeyes fell to 5-5 against ranked teams.
The Buckeyes had one final chance to win but Turner’s desperation 60-foot heave at the buzzer was well short.
Ahead by five at halftime, the Illini never let the Buckeyes regain the lead.
Turnovers, which have been a recent nemesis for the Buckeyes, proved to be again.
While going for a tying basket, the Buckeyes turned it over midway through the half when center B.J. Mullens was unable to hang onto a pass inside. At the other end, the Illini quickly converted it into a 50-45 lead on McCamey’s 3-pointer.
After Mullens held onto the next pass and dunked to cut the lead to three, Meacham came out of a timeout to hit a 3 from the right corner. When Ohio State missed its next shot, McCamey followed a miss with a rebound basket to push the lead to 55-47.
Turner hit a foul shot for the Buckeyes before Chester Frazier hit one of the biggest shots of the game. With the shot clock hitting the final second, he launched a 26-foot 3-pointer that silenced the crowd momentarily and put the Illini up 58-48.
After Ohio State drew to 59-55, Frazier swished another 3 – the two shots giving him all six of his points to that point.
Turner scored inside for his seventh and eighth consecutive points for the Buckeyes, and was fouled with 40 seconds left. His free throw spun out, but P.J. Hill – Ohio State’s smallest player at 6-foot-1 – came in to tip the ball in with 39 seconds left to cut the lead to 67-65.
Meacham was fouled with 26.5 seconds left and the 91 percent free throw shooter hit both.
In the earlier meeting in Champaign, Ill., Ohio State had a season-high 20 turnovers in a 67-49 loss.
The Illini went a long way in the opening 8 minutes toward erasing the ugly memories of their 38-33 home loss against Penn State on Wednesday night. In that game the Illini shot 30 percent and managed only 15 field goals and never went to the free-throw line.
Against Ohio State, they hit eight of their first nine shots while building an 18-14 lead.
The victory gave the Illini their first three-game Big Ten road winning streak since winning 13 straight during the 2004 and 2005 conference seasons.