Cody Cousino / Asst. multimedia editor
On the shoulders of fifth-year senior forward David Lighty’s 17 second-half points, No. 2 Ohio State (26-2, 13-2 Big Ten) beat Illinois (17-11, 7-8 Big Ten), 89-70, Tuesday night at the Schottenstein Center.
The Illini hung with the Buckeyes early on and cut the OSU lead to 33-30 after a 3-pointer from senior point guard Demetri McCamey with six minutes to go in the first half. But the Illini scored just two points in the final six minutes as the Buckeyes closed the first 20 minutes on a 14-2 run.
The run was capped by a 3-pointer from senior guard Jon Diebler as the half expired and, despite Illinois shooting a blistering 8 of 9 from beyond the 3-point line in the first half, the Buckeyes went to the break with a 47-32 lead.
But Illinois, in desperate need of a resume-building win, wasn’t going to go away easy. The Illini started the second half on an 11-2 run and quickly cut the Buckeye lead to 49-43.
Then Lighty took over.
Although he had struggled in OSU’s last three games, Lighty scored the next 13 OSU points, culminating in a 3-pointer that put the Buckeyes up, 62-45, with less than 12 minutes remaining.
Illinois wouldn’t get any closer than nine the rest of the way as OSU pulled away for a 19-point win.
Lighty finished with 21 points, four rebounds and six steals. Junior guard William Buford added 17 points and freshman forward Jared Sullinger scored 12 points and grabbed 11 rebounds for his 13th double-double of the season.
Senior forward Mike Davis led Illinois with 18 points on 8 of 14 shooting.