Feb 9, 2003
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By JASON STRAIT
AP Sports Writer
CHAMPAIGN, Ill. – Brian Cook scored 22 points and reserve Roger Powell added 14 as No. 16 Illinois built a 32-point lead and then held off a late rally for a 76-57 victory over Ohio State on Sunday.
Illinois (16-4, 6-3 Big Ten) made a season-high 12 3-pointers in winnings its 14th straight home game. Powell was 5-of-5 for the Illini, which shot 50 percent from the field, including 12-of-28 on 3s, and held the Buckeyes (11-10, 4-6) to 31 percent shooting.
Darren Williams had 12 points for Illinois on 4-of-7 shooting from 3-point range.
The Buckeyes trailed by 32 points early in the second half. A 14-0 run, with half the points coming from Brent Darby, helped cut the deficit in half with 7:58 left. But Ohio State never got the lead under double digits and fell to 1-5 on the road this season.
Darby lead the Buckeyes with 20 points, but was just 6-of-21 from the field.
Ohio State’s zone defense frustrated Illinois early, collapsing on Cook and James Augustine in the post and forcing the Illini to shoot long jumpers. That didn’t last long.
Held to one field goal over the first three minutes, Illinois quickly adjusted and outscored the Buckeyes 14-0 over the next 5:02. Cook started the run with two free throws, and Dee Brown and Sean Harrington made consecutive 3-pointers to give the Illini a 17-1 lead.
With Illinois working the ball inside and out for open looks, it didn’t matter what Ohio State did. Nothing was falling.
The Buckeyes missed their first eight shots and were held without a field goal the first 6:45 of the game.
After a basket by Ohio State’s Matt Sylvester made it 17-3, Illinois outscored the Buckeyes 13-3. The Illini held Ohio State to 24 percent shooting in the first half, forced eight turnovers and led 49-22 at halftime.
Cook made a short jumper and hit two free throws early in the second half to give Illinois its largest lead of the game, 32 points.
The Illinois crowd mockingly cheered Ohio State when Charles Bass’ basket cut the deficit to 30.
Ohio State eventually got the lead down to 67-51, but consecutive baskets by Cook and two free throws from Harrington pushed it back to 20.
The Buckeyes were playing short-handed for the second straight game. Velimir Radinovic, the team’s second-leading scorer, missed the game with a compound dislocation of his pinkie.