B1G Tournament: Illinois grabs championship, overcomes Ohio State in dramatic overtime performance
The B1G Tournament Championship is coming back to Champaign!
After seeing conference tournaments and March Madness get canceled in 2020, the 2021 B1G Tournament more than lived up to the hype. It all culminated in a dramatic showdown between Illinois and Ohio State Sunday afternoon.
Not only was it another tight battle of top-10 opponents, but it was also the final game of the weekend with a championship up for grabs. It proved to be one for the ages with overtime needed to determine a champion.
After Illinois built a 17-point first-half lead, Ohio State answered back by cutting it all the way to five points at halftime. Then, after the Illini rebuilt that lead to 11 points, the Buckeyes battled back and forced overtime at 77-all.
In the end, Illinois was able to take control and hold on in the extra period for the 91-88 victory and B1G Tournament title. Considering how the regular season ended with Illinois just missing that title to Michigan, Sunday’s win is a good finish heading into the NCAA Tournament. It also should more than solidify the seeding for both teams.
Duane Washington Jr. led Ohio State with an incredible 32-point performance in the losing effort. He added eight rebounds as the Buckeyes fell just shy after an incredible weekend run that included wins over Purdue and Michigan.
For Illinois, it was the bench that came up key in some big moments. Andre Curbelo, Da’Monte Williams, and Giorgi Bezhanishvili combined for 41 points off the bench. Their performance was key as Ayo Dosunmu and Kofi Cockburn struggled to get traction in the second half.
Now, both teams will turn their sights to the NCAA Tournament with both squads more than capable of making a deep run in March Madness. Stay tuned for full brackets being announced on CBS.