Illinois led by as many as 25 in the process of beating a Top-10 opponent for the second time this season and came away with its largest margin of victory against a team ranked in the Top 10 since beating No. 10 Iowa 74-51 in 1954.
WHAT THE BUCKEYES SAID
“They played us very, very well defensively. We could never get that one bucket to kind of free us up, free our minds up a little bit and we probably pressed.” — Coach Thad Matta, whose team set a season low for points scored.
WHAT THE ILLINI SAID
“I’m thankful for the character of our guys. They let us coach them, our leadership’s good, they respond well and we can get on them, they don’t put their head down and they listen and they fight.” — Coach John Groce
WHAT IT MEANS
The Illini avoided going 0-2 in conference play for the first time since the 2007-08 season by spanking the Buckeyes, who are 0-3 against teams ranked in the Top 25 this season.
If No. 9 Minnesota can take care of business against Northwestern on Sunday, Wednesday’s game against the Gophers at the Assembly Hall (8 p.m., BTN) will mark the first time since the 2005 Final Four that the Illini will have faced Top-10 opponents in consecutive games.