No. 5 Ohio State (15-3) couldn't stop Illinois' junior Brandon Paul and couldn't prevent their third loss of the season. The win for the Fighting Illini (15-3) will likely propel them into the Top 25 when the new rankings are released.
Paul started slow, missing his first two shots and turning the ball over four times before hitting his first shot almost seven minutes into the game.
Then, he went off.
Paul went on his own little 8-0 run around the nine-minute mark of the first half and scored 11 of Illinois' final 17 points in the first 20 minutes. Illinois trailed by five at the half.
In the second half, it was all Paul. He scored 30 of Illinois' 45 points, including the final 15. The dagger came with about 40 seconds left, an off-balance three-pointer to put Illinois up four.
He finished with 43 points in all on 11-of-15 shooting and added eight rebounds and four blocks. It was the third highest point total in Illini history.
Paul's game overshadowed strong games from the Buckeyes' Jared Sullinger (21 points on 9-for-16 shooting) and Deshaun Thomas (23 points on 8-for-12 shooting) and handed Ohio State its third loss overall and second in the Big Ten.
Ohio State will have to rebound quickly because they have a rematch with No. 8 Indiana on January 15. They lost to the Hoosiers back on December 31.