No. 3 Illinois tops No. 9 Ohio State in OT for Big Ten title

Minutes after the game, the Illini joined Gonzaga, Baylor and Michigan as No. 1 seeds for the NCAA Tournament.

SHARE No. 3 Illinois tops No. 9 Ohio State in OT for Big Ten title

Illinois players Ayo Dosunmu (11), Andre Curbelo (5), Trent Frazier (1), and Kofi Cockburn (21) wave to fans in the closing minute of overtime.


INDIANAPOLIS — Kofi Cockburn and Ayo Dosunmu both scored 16 points, both grabbed nine rebounds and both made key plays in overtime to give No. 3 Illinois a 91-88 victory over No. 9 Ohio State on Sunday for its first Big Ten Tournament title since 2005.

Minutes after the game, Illini join Gonzaga, Baylor and Michigan as No. 1 seeds for the NCAA Tournament.

Cockburn made the go-ahead free throw with 1:39 to play, Dosunmu made a 15-footer with 50 seconds to go and the Illini (23-6) sealed it at the free-throw line. Illinois has won seven straight overall, six in a row over top-10 foes and 14 of its last 15 overall to claim the conference’s automatic NCAA Tournament bid.

At times, Illinois appeared to be in complete control, but Ohio State (21-9) refused to give in to the weariness of playing four games in four days. Instead, the Buckeyes constantly fought back.

Duane Washington Jr. had a career-high 32 points and Justice Sueing added 22 for the Buckeyes.

The Fighting Illini now have six wins over AP top-10 teams this season, tied for the most in a season in Big Ten history.

Michigan narrowly missed having their highest regular-season winning percentage ever after a one-point loss to Ohio State in the Big Ten tournament to finish 20-4. It’s the Wolverines first No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament since 1993.

Gonzaga is the fifth team to enter the NCAA Tournament undefeated since Indiana’s perfect season in 1975-76. They’re also the first team to go wire-to-wire as AP’s No. 1 since unbeaten Kentucky in 2014-15.

Baylor had been on Gonzaga’s heels all season, having lost just one game before dropping their second to Oklahoma State in the Big 12 tournament. The Bears are the No. 1 seed in the men’s tournament for the first time in their history.

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