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    Wildcats Cannot Sustain Hot Start Against No. 24/23 Ohio State

    Feb. 19, 2014

    Ohio State No. 24/23 Ohio State 76, Northwestern 60
    Value City Arena • Columbus, Ohio • Attendance: 15,878

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    COLUMBUS, Ohio -- Northwestern led by as many as nine in the first half, but the Wildcats could not overcome a deluge of second-half Ohio State points, and the 'Cats fell to the No. 24/23 Buckeyes, 76-60, at Value City Arena on Wednesday night.

    One bright spot throughout the ballgame for NU was Drew Crawford, whose irregular game against Minnesota seemed like a distant memory on this night. The fifth-year senior poured in a game-high 22 points against the Buckeyes.

    The Wildcats also got solid offensive help from big man Alex Olah, who contributed eight points to go along with four rebounds. Redshirt sophomore Tre Demps added 14 points off the bench for NU.

    The two halves could not have played out more differently for the visitors. Northwestern managed to control the pace for much of the first half with a methodical defense and a spectacular shooting from Crawford.

    Early on, Ohio State struggled to find any easy shots. The Purple and White held the Buckeyes to only 15 points through the first 10 minutes, keeping Ohio State well off its 70-point-per-game pace. Meanwhile, Crawford continued to drain the three pointers, and his triple with 8:39 gave the Cats a 28-21 lead.

    Then, Ohio State turned on the heat. The Buckeyes surged back, scoring nine points in the next two minutes to take a 30-28 lead. A three-point bucket from Demps ended Ohio State's streak, but the Buckeyes added a few more scores in the last two minutes to take a 37-33 lead at the half.

    Northwestern shot nearly 52 percent in the first half (14-for-27), and at one point, it was hovering above the 60-percent matk.

    The halftime break did nothing to slow down the Buckeyes' momentum. The home team held NU scoreless for the first three minutes of the second period, while Ohio State added nine points to open up a sizable cushion at 13 points.

    The Buckeyes ramped up the aggression in the paint and drew several fouls, including two on one possession, to widen the lead from the free throw line.

    With just under nine minutes left, Demps showed off his speed with a steal and fast break score, complete with a spin move under the basket, to temporarily quell the Buckeyes' momentum. The respite was short-lived, however, as Ohio State's Shannon Scott nailed a rare three-pointer to regain a sizable lead for the Buckeyes.

    As the home team continued to widen the lead, tension ran high on both sides. Northestern's Nikola Cerina and Ohio State's Amir Williams got tangled up under the basket while battling for a rebound, and Williams' teammate LaQuinton Ross entered the fray as well. After the officials took nearly 15 minutes to sort things out, Cerina and Ross were disqualified. OSU was awarded four free throws, while the 'Cats shot six from the charity stripe and retained possession of the ball.

    The lengthy stoppage did little to change the momentum, though, and the Buckeyes maintained a safe lead the rest of the way.

    The #B1GCats will head back to Evanston to go for the season sweep when they take on the Indiana Hoosiers this Saturday, Feb. 22 at 7:15 p.m. Central time. Tickets are still available for the game, which has been designated Social Media Night at Welsh-Ryan Arena. To purchase tickets, visit NUPurplePricing.com.

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