CHAMPAIGN, Ill. — Ayo Dosunmu scored 27 points, Kofi Cockburn had 13 points and 14 rebounds and No. 8 Illinois rallied to beat Ohio 77-75 on Friday.
It was Cockburn’s 15th double-double in 35 games for Illinois (3-0).
Jason Preston scored 31 points for Ohio (2-1). Ben Vander Plas added 20 points and Dwight Wilson scored 12 for the Bobcats.
Ohio went ahead 71-67 on Jason Preston’s free throw with 1:56 remaining. Dosunmu tied it at 71 with a 3-pointer and Da’Monte Williams put Illinois ahead 74-73 on a 3 with 35 seconds left.
Wilson hit a jumper with 7.9 seconds left to give Ohio its last lead. After a timeout, Dosumnu was fouled going to the basket and sank both free throws to put Illinois up 76-75 with 2 seconds remaining.
Trent Frazier intercepted Ohio’s inbounds pass and was fouled with less than a second left. Frazier sank the first free throw and missed the second on purpose. Ohio got off a last-ditch shot from mid-court that fell well short.
Ohio forced Illinois into an uncharacteristic 16 turnovers while only committing seven.
Illinois was 20 of 58 (48%) from the field, while Ohio was 31 of 65 (48%).
Ohio hung with the Illini throughout a first half that saw numerous lead changes. Illinois went on a 9-0 run to take a 30-21 lead but Ohio rallied with 10 straight points, going ahead 31-30 on a 3-pointer by Preston, who had 20 points at the half.
Illinois battled back and led 35-34 at the break.
Illinois struggled to find its rhythm on offense early in the game, but its smothering defense led by Frazier kept the game close.
Illinois was coming off two easy wins and may have taken Ohio for granted while also looking ahead to its road matchup with No. 2 Baylor on Wednesday.
Ohio: The Bobcats aren’t due to play again until Dec. 13, when they travel to Marshall.
Illinois: The Illini get one of their biggest tests of their season against Baylor.