Nick Smith and the Illini Drive the Buckeyes Nuts

Illinois and Ohio State tipped-off their 2004 Big Ten seasons at the Assembly Hall in Champaign on Wednesday night. Six Illini scored in double digits as Illinois head coach Bruce Weber picked up his first win in the Big Ten conference. Read here for all the details of the Illini win.

Carrying over his hot streak from Saturday's overtime period against Illinois State, Illini center Nick Smith put in a career-high 22 points as No. 19 Illinois beat Ohio State 85-63 on Wednesday night in Champaign. Smith made all 6 of his shots from the field and all 9 of his shots from the foul line.

Five other Illini players joined Smith in scoring double figures. Dee Brown busted out of a scoring slump and contributed 16 points for Illinois (10-2, 1-0 Big Ten). Roger Powell and Richard McBride each scored 11 points and Brian Randle and James Augustine both tallied 10 points.

Ohio State (8-6, 0-1) was led by Terrence Dials, who had 11 points. Tony Stockman chipped in with 10 points.

Smith not only was the leading scorer, but he narrowly missed a double-double with 9 rebounds. The starting guard combination of Brown and Deron Williams both had 6 assists. Brown also had 4 steals.

On a cold January night, the Buckeyes shot like they had numb hands. Ohio State shot 6 of 21 from the field in the first half and went without a field goal for over 7 minutes.

Williams had a rough night from the field and shot 1 of 9 for 2 points. Many of Williams' shots came up short, most likely due to him getting his game endurance back.

Illinois walk-on Fred Nkemdi made his first appearance of the season and grabbed the first rebound of his Division 1 career.

The Illini played the fifth game of the young season without Luther Head. The guard was arrested by Champaign police Tuesday night for running a red light. It was discovered that Head was driving with a suspended license. As of Wednesday night, it was unclear if Head would play on Saturday against Purdue in Champaign.

Illinois won their fifth straight conference opener.

Wednesday's Other Big Ten Games:
Iowa 71 (8-3), No. 24 Purdue 61 (10-4)
Penn State 75 (7-5), Minnesota 72 (7-5)
Michigan 78 (10-2), Northwestern 54 (5-7)

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