No. 1 Ohio State holds off No. 23 Illinois 73-68 - KMOV.com

No. 1 Ohio State holds off No. 23 Illinois 73-68

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** CORRECTS YEAR ** Illinois' Illinois' center Meyers Leonard (12) dunks against Ohio State during an NCAA college basketball game at the Assembly Hall in Champaign, Ill. on Saturday, Jan. 22, 2011.(AP Photo/Robin Scholz) By Robin Scholz ** CORRECTS YEAR ** Illinois' Illinois' center Meyers Leonard (12) dunks against Ohio State during an NCAA college basketball game at the Assembly Hall in Champaign, Ill. on Saturday, Jan. 22, 2011.(AP Photo/Robin Scholz) By Robin Scholz
Illinois' Jereme Richmond (22) reacts to being called for a foul during an NCAA college basketball game against Ohio State at Assembly Hall in Champaign, Ill. on Saturday, Jan. 22, 2011. Ohio State won 73-68.(AP Photo/Robin Scholz) By Robin Scholz Illinois' Jereme Richmond (22) reacts to being called for a foul during an NCAA college basketball game against Ohio State at Assembly Hall in Champaign, Ill. on Saturday, Jan. 22, 2011. Ohio State won 73-68.(AP Photo/Robin Scholz) By Robin Scholz

CHAMPAIGN, Ill. (AP) -- Aaron Craft made two free throws with 15 seconds left and Jon Diebler forced an Illinois turnover with 4 seconds on the clock as No. 1 Ohio State held on for a 73-68 win over the 23rd-ranked Illini on Saturday.

Jared Sullinger led the unbeaten Buckeyes (20-0, 7-0 Big Ten) with 27 points and 16 rebounds.

The Illini made it close, though. Mike Tisdale's 3-pointer brought Illinois within one point at 69-68 with 16 seconds left. But Craft's free throws and Diebler's strip preserved the win.

Sullinger scored 11 points early in the second half to keep the Buckeyes in the game, and told his teammates not to worry as they walked to the bench down 50-42 with just under 13 minutes to play.

Illinois (14-6, 4-3) was led by Jereme Richmond's 18 points and 10 rebounds. Tisdale added 15 points.

(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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