Dec 22, 2001

Box Score| Quotes| Notes

Postgame audio:

Head Coach Jim O’Brien
Eastern Illinois Head Coach Rick Samuels

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.

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.

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

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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

It was the first meeting between the schools.