January 30, 1999
CHAMPAIGN, Illinois – (Ticker) — Brian Brown, a 35 percent free throw shooter, sank a pair from the line with 5.1 seconds left to seal the victory as No. 17 Ohio State snapped an 11-game losing streak against Illinois, 64-61.
Michael Redd snapped a 61-61 tie by making a free throw with 29 seconds left. Illinois had three chances to win in the final 15 seconds. With 13 seconds left, a pull-up jumper by Cory Bradford was off the mark but the rebound was knocked out of bounds by Ohio State’s Scoonie Penn.
On the ensuing inbounds attempt, Victor Chukwudebe was short off a lob pass and Sergio McClain was dragged to the floor on a follow attempt. Brown grabbed the ball and raced into the frontcourt before being fouled.
After making both attempts, Illinois got the ball into the frontcourt but Bradford was fouled before getting off his three-point attempt. He missed the first and intentionally missed the second but was unable to run down the loose rebound.
Penn and Redd led Ohio State (16-6, 6-3 Big Ten) with 15 points apiece. Redd had 11 of his points in the second half for the Buckeyes, who trailed nearly the entire game.
Bradford, a redshirt freshman had a season-high 29, including six three-pointers. But the Illini, coming off their first Big Ten win of the season at Michigan on Thursday, fell to 9-12 and 1-8 in the conference.
Ohio State, which had not beaten Illinois since 1992, trails the all-time series 55-93.
The Buckeyes led 5-4, 5:27 into the contest but Illinois used a 12-4 run to open a seven-point lead with just over nine minutes left in the first half. Ohio State got within 21-20 on two free throws by Penn with 4:23 to go but Chukwudebe had a follow shot and Bradford drained a three-pointer. McClain followed with a fast-break layup for a 28-20 advantage.
A scoop shot by Penn with 10 seconds left in the half cut the deficit to 28-22. Illinois again led by eight, 41-33 with 12:20 left in the contest but Jason Singleton dunked to ignite a 7-0 run. The Illini did not fold and regained a 52-45 edge with 7:36 to go. Ohio State answered with a 9-2 burst that knotted the game, 54-54, with 3:54 left. Penn’s two free throws gave the Buckeyes their first lead since 5-4, but McClain hit two free throws to tie the game.
Lucas Johnson’s two free throws with 44 seconds remaining pulled Illinois even at 61-61, but Redd was fouled 15 seconds later driving to the basket. Redd sank one of two to give Ohio State the 62-61 lead Brown extended with his clutch free throws.
Illinois was 11-of-23 from the foul line and committed 18 turnovers.