The first half of the top-10 battle between Ohio State and Illinois has lived up to the billing.

Coming out of the opening tip, it was Illinois opening on a 6-0 run with big man Kofi Cockburn scoring four points. However, it did not take long for the Buckeyes to wake up, going on a run to take a 16-12 lead behind Duane Washington Jr. and Justice Sueing.

Since that time, it has been a back-and-forth affair through the first 20 minutes of action. The Illini stretched one lead to nine points, but the Buckeyes answered back and entered halftime with Illinois holding a 41-37 lead.

The big story throughout the first half has been the return of Illinois’ Ayo Dosunmu, returning to action for the first time since getting injured against Michigan State. He has missed three games since sustaining a facial injury against the Spartans but has not missed a beat against the Buckeyes.

Sporting a new protective facemask, Dosunmu scored his first bucket around nine minutes into the action:

After his first bucket, Dosunmu went on a nice run, finishing the half with 11 points on perfect 5-for-5 shooting from the floor. Andre Curbelo with 11 points and Cockburn with 10 points are also in double figures for the Illini.

On the other side of things, Washington leads the Buckeyes with 11 points on 4-for-8 shooting while Sueing has nine points to go with seven rebounds.

The second half of this one is shaping up to be a hard-fought battle to the end. Catch the action on ESPN.