for this game

Ohio State uses outside attack to end slump at Champaign

Jan 7, 2007 - 2:53 AM CHAMPAIGN, Illinois (Ticker) -- Jamar Butler and freshman Daequan Cook stepped up to help a struggling Greg Oden.

Butler and Cook combined for 25 points as sixth-ranked Ohio State used solid outside shooting for a 62-44 Big Ten Conference victory over Illinois.

Coming off a career-best 21 points in a 74-67 victory over Indiana on Tuesday, Oden - the 7-foot teenage sensation - was off his game early, missing all five of his shots in a scoreless first half.

Oden's offensive problems had much to do with the Fighting Illini, whose defensive plan focused on the freshman.

"I thought our scheme was pretty good," Illinois coach Bruce Weber said. "I was pleased with the effort and the job our big guys did with Oden." Despite the 7-1 center's struggles, the Buckeyes (12-2, 2-0 Big Ten) held a 36-22 lead at the break due to three 3-pointers by Butler and 10 points from senior guard Ron Lewis.

Oden missed his opening shot of the second half but added a layup and a jumper on his next four attempts. Butler sank his fourth 3-pointer to push the lead to 45-30 with 13:23 remaining.

A junior, Butler was 4-of-8 from arc en route to 12 points and Cook added a pair of 3-pointers on his way to 13 as Ohio State finished 9-of-29 (31 percent) from long range.

Oden made just 3-of-12 shots for seven points but also grabbed 15 rebounds and blocked four shots as the Buckeyes captured their first win here since January 30, 1999.

In contrast, Illinois (12-5, 0-2) had won 51 of its previous 55 conference games at Assembly Hall. But it shot just 24 percent (14-of-58), including 3-of-23 3-pointers, as it tied school records for fewest points and field goals at home.

"They missed a lot of open shots, so we were fortunate in that regard," Ohio State coach Thad Matta said. "I was a little shocked by that, I thought it would be a higher scoring game." In their third straight loss, the Fighting Illini also committed 13 turnovers and were outrebounded, 48-43.

"This better be rock bottom," said Illinois forward Warren Carter, who had 11 points and eight rebounds. "It should be the lowest point we have this season, because I don't want to feel this way again. Hopefully the rest of the guys feel the same way. You have take this, you've got to eat it up and study it to get ready for the rest of the Big Ten season."

    --- --- -----
    OHIO ST (6) 36 26 62
    ILLINOIS 22 22 44 FINAL

    Jan 6 4:03 PM

    OHIO ST (6) 36

    Jan 6 2:53 PM