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College

Men's basketball: Illini upbeat, despite loss to Ohio State

DJ Richardson shoots past as Ohio State Lenzelle Smith defends during a 68-55 loss for Illinois, which was without Sterling graduate Joe Bertrand on Sunday in Columbus, Ohio.
DJ Richardson shoots past as Ohio State Lenzelle Smith defends during a 68-55 loss for Illinois, which was without Sterling graduate Joe Bertrand on Sunday in Columbus, Ohio.

COLUMBUS, Ohio – Illinois coach John Groce found the silver lining after a 68-55 loss to Ohio State and back-to-back road losses to end the regular season.

“I thought our toughness was really good. … I thought our leadership was good today,” Groce said. We’re going to stay poised.”

The Illini were without Joe Bertrand, who suffered a shoulder injury in practice. Groce said he hopes Bertrand will be ready for Thursday’s game.

Brandon Paul led the Illini (21-11, 8-10) with 21 points, while D.J. Richardson added 10.

Illinois led by four points midway through the first half, but the Buckeyes (23-7, 13-5) closed the half with a 12-2 run.

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