With one of Ohio State’s key big men out with an ankle injury, freshman E.J. Liddell stepped in and played his best game as a Buckeye so far.
Liddell slammed in a dunk that gave the Buckeyes the lead for good on the way to tying a career high with 17 points and pulling down a career-best 11 rebounds as No. 19 Ohio State pulled away for a 71-63 win over No. 23 Illinois on Thursday.
Liddell also played a career-high 26 minutes with junior forward Kyle Young
out with an ankle injury.
had 15 of his team-leading 19 points in the second half for the Buckeyes (21-9, 11-8 Big Ten), who have won four in a row and nine of their last 11. They are playing well at a critical time, with a road matchup against No. 16 Michigan State looming this weekend and the Big Ten tournament beginning Wednesday in Indianapolis.
Ohio State honored the 1960 national championship team at halftime. Surviving members who showed up for the reunion included Jerry Lucas, Mel Nowell, Joe Roberts and Bob Knight. They also got a chance to talk to the current team.