Sean Connolly's game-winning 3-pointer for Ohio State made a lot of people at Michigan State happy.
Connolly's 3-pointer with 30 seconds left gave Ohio State a 63-61 upset of No. 3 Illinois on Thursday night and tightened the race for the Big Ten title.
The Illini (21-6, 11-3), who had a five-game winning streak snapped, lead Michigan State by a half-game in the conference. Illinois can clinch a share of the title by beating Iowa and Minnesota in its final two games.
"This will just make us more hungry," Illinois' Sergio McClain said. "We still control our own destiny."
In other games involving ranked teams, it was No. 1 Stanford 75, Washington State 64; No. 2 North Carolina 95, Florida State 67; No. 15 UCLA 88, Oregon 73; and No. 25 Providence 119, Binghamton 58.
With Illinois on top 61-60, the Buckeyes' Brent Darby was guarded by Sergio McClain in the backcourt and couldn't find an open man. But he was able to toss a pass to Connolly, who broke open along the baseline. He turned and hit the 3-pointer to put Ohio State ahead 63-61.
"I came off a couple of screens and just came open," said Connolly, a transfer from Providence in his first year with the Buckeyes. "It felt like it was going in when it left my hand."
Brian Cook missed a 3-point attempt with 9 seconds remaining for Illinois. The Buckeyes' Tim Martin rebounded and was fouled, but missed both free throws.
Williams, who beat Ohio State in the Big Ten opener a year ago with a 3-pointer at the buzzer, took the inbounds pass. Pressured by three defenders, his shot with 2 seconds left wasn't close.
"They did a good job of trapping me and they did a good job of making it so I couldn't see anyone to pass to," Williams said.
Ohio State (18-9, 9-5) lost its first four games against ranked teams this season, but has now knocked off four ranked teams in the last month -- including another team that was No. 3 at the time, Michigan State.
"How about our kids?" Buckeyes coach Jim O'Brien said. "They hung in there, they didn't lose their composure and they just toughed it out. We had to play like we did against Michigan State -- anything else and we lose."
Brian Brown led Ohio State with 18 points, while Ken Johnson had 16 points and Darby had 14. The Buckeyes have won five straight Big conference games.
No. 1 Stanford 75, Washington State 64
Casey Jacobsen scored 21 points as host Stanford overcame an eight-point halftime deficit to beat Washington State.
Stanford (24-1, 12-1 Pac-10), which returned to No. 1 this week, also got 13 points and six rebounds from Jarron Collins.
Jerry McNair scored 29 points for Washington State (11-13, 4-10).
No. 2 North Carolina 95, Florida St. 67
Joseph Forte scored 36 points as North Carolina rebounded from its first loss in 2 1/2 months.
The host Tar Heels (22-3, 12-1 Atlantic Coast Conference) saw their 18-game winning streak broken at Clemson on Sunday, but led by 10 at halftime this time around and shot 57 percent to win going away.
Adrian Crawford and Delvon Arrington led Florida State (7-19, 2-11) with 12 points each.
No. 15 UCLA 88, Oregon 73
Matt Barnes scored 21 points and Jason Kapono had 20 points and 13 rebounds as UCLA held off a second-half comeback by Oregon.
Dan Gadzuric added 16 points and eight rebounds for the Bruins (18-6, 11-2 Pac-10), who have won 14 of 16 games.
Bryan Bracey led Oregon (13-11, 4-10) with 21 points and 10 rebounds.
No. 25 Providence 119, Binghamton 58
Romuald Augustin scored 17 points in 15 minutes as host Providence routed Division II Binghamton (14-12).
The Friars, who entered the Top 25 this week for the first time since Jan. 24, 1989, were in control throughout. Providence (20-7, 10-4 Big East) shot 80.6 percent from the field in the first half to take a 61-22 lead.
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