Ohio State and Illinois delivered a thriller in the quarterfinal round of the B1G Basketball Tournament on Friday.

The Buckeyes entered this game red-hot, winning 6 of their last 7 since firing Chris Holtmann and replacing him with interim coach Jake Diebler. Ohio State led for much of this game, but in the end it was Illinois who came away with the 77-74 win. Terrence Shannon Jr. scored a game-high 28 points in the win over the Buckeyes.

Here are some takeaways from the exciting quarterfinal matchup:

Long distance makes continue to be scarce

It has been a frustrating season for both Ohio State and Illinois from beyond the arc.

Illinois came into the game at No. 8 in 3-point field goal percentage (35%) in the B1G. Ohio State isn’t too far behind them, coming in at No. 10 in the conference making 34.7% of its 3-pointers this season.

Things didn’t change much in Friday’s game. Both Ohio State and Illinois shot under 30% from 3-point range. However, the teams did well from the field in general as they hit more than 40% of their shots.

Usual suspects vs. unlikely heroes

The normal key scorers showed up for Ohio State, but that wasn’t the case for Illinois.

Ohio State was led by Bruce Thornton and Jamison Battle in scoring with 20 and 21 points, respectively. Shannon did have a big game for Illinois as well with 28 points. However, the Fighting Illini got some help from Ty Rodgers and Dain Dainja off the bench. That duo scored 12 and 18 points, respectively — far above their season averages. Rodgers averaged 6.5 points coming in and while Dainja was at 5.5 points per contest.

The efforts from Ohio State and Illinois’ top scorers in the game gave fans a thrilling game to watch. There are just games that bring out the best in players and that was on display at the Target Center.

Charity stripe plays a big role

The free throw line played a role in Friday’s matchup for both teams.

Ohio State had the better percentage at the free throw line, hitting over 75%. However, Illinois had 32 attempts at the charity stripe while Ohio State had just 13. The Illini made just 21-of-32 attempts at the line, which helped keep this game close until the final seconds.

Illinois got off to a slow start on free throws, but eventually started to improve late in the game and hit over 60%. The Fighting Illini had many more chances than the Buckeyes from the charity stripe. Illinois came into the game hitting 74% of its free throws, which was good for 7th in the B1G. Ohio State had the 2nd best free throw percentage in the conference (76.6%).

It didn’t matter as Illinois earned a hard-fought victory, but this is something to monitor as March Madness creeps closer and closer.

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