"We need to lead our guys and show a good example,'' he said.
But it wasn't a leader that stepped up for Ohio State during its run.
Freshman forward Marc Loving, who had not made a shot in his past six games, scored eight straight points for the Buckeyes.
"As you've heard me say all year, our margin of error is really small,'' Groce said. "You turn it over a couple of times, a guy like Loving steps up makes a couple of shots, we miss a couple of layups and the game turns.
"And, it didn't turn our direction.''
Ohio State wound up shooting just 38 percent, but Illinois made just 28 percent.
"That's a big difference,'' said Matta.
And considering that Matta and Groce worked together for eight years, did the Hoopeston native have anything to tell Groce after his team lost its 10 game in the past 11.
"I told him to stay the course,'' Matt said. "No one is going to work harder than him. He will keep coaching and keep doing what he can do. It's a crazy league. It's a momentum league, and unfortunately, they haven't been able to get any momentum going.''
Illinois will attempt to get things turned around on Wednesday when the Illini hit the road for its next game. Illinois will play the Minnesota Golden Gophers in Minneapolis, Minn., on Wednesday. Tipoff is set for 8 p.m.