After going undefeated, the Ohio State Buckeyes have lost four conference games in a row. They were looking to break that streak on Thursday night with a win over the Illinois Fighting Illini in Columbus.
Many fans are wondering what is wrong with the Buckeyes. Why are they shooting so poorly? Why can’t they hang onto the ball? They are just in a huge slump that has caused them to take bad shots and turn the ball over too much, resulting in their four-game losing streak. It needs to end if they want to stay in contention in the Big Ten.
The Illini led the Buckeyes 25-24 at halftime. Ohio State shot just 29 percent in the first half, while only shooting 30 percent from three-point range and turning the ball over seven times. Their leading scorer, LaQuinton Ross, had four points at halftime. In fact, there were no Buckeyes who scored in double digits in the first half. Lenzelle Smith Jr. led the way with just six points. The Buckeyes needed to get their offense going in the second half if they wanted to have any chance to win the game. That’s exactly what they did.
About halfway through the second half, the Buckeyes went on a 9-0 scoring run that helped improve their overall shooting percentage, which was almost at 42 percent for the game. Their three-point shooting percentage also improved to 42 percent, most of which came from either Ross or Smith, and they had a total of 12 turnovers. Ross finished the game with 18 points and Smith had 16 points.
The Buckeyes broke their losing streak with a 62-55 win over Illinois. If their offense can continue to be more consistent and continue to play as well or better than they did in the second half of this game, then they have likely ended their slump and will continue their winning ways.