CHAMPAIGN, Ill. (AP) -- Jamar Butler scored 32 points to lead Ohio State to a 74-58 win over Illinois Thursday in the Big Ten opener for both teams.
Butler accounted for almost half of his team's offense in the first half, then scored 15 straight points early in the second, when the Buckeyes (10-3, 1-0) pulled away from the Illini. The senior guard, who averaged 14.2 points coming into the game, was 4-for-7 from 3-point range.Forward Othello Hunter added 15 points for Ohio State. Illinois held 7-foot center Kosta Koufos, the Buckeyes' leading score coming into the game, to eight points.Senior forward Brian Randle led Illinois (8-6, 0-1) with 14 points. Center Shaun Pruitt added 12 points and eight rebounds.Both teams struggled shooting in a physical first half, which saw the score tied seven times.Aside from 13 first-half points from Butler, the Buckeyes were largely lifeless with the ball, hitting 2-of-11 3-point shots and 11-of-30 field goals in the first 20 minutes.The Illini shot 2-of-10 from 3-point range in the first half and 12-of-29 from the field.