Jan. 6, 2008
COLUMBUS, Ohio -
Northwestern was able to hang tight with Ohio State Sunday afternoon at Value City Arena, but the Wildcats were unable to make it all the way back from an early deficit in falling to the Buckeyes 62-51.
Craig Moore led NU (5-6, 0-2) with 16 points including tying a school record with 14 3-point attempts in the contest. Kevin Coble added 11 points while Michael Thompson was also in double figures with 10 points.
Freshman Kosta Koufos scored all but two of his game-high 17 points before intermission to help the Buckeyes (11-3, 2-0) to a 12-point halftime lead, 37-25. Classmate Jon Diebler scored 10 of his 15, including three 3-pointers, in the second half.
Evan Turner had 16 points for Ohio State and Jamar Butler, who scored a career-best 32 in Thursday's win at Illinois, was 0 for 7 from the field for no points but had a game-high 11 assists and 10 rebounds.
Ohio State has won 18 straight conference games, including three in the conference tournament, since a 72-69 loss at Wisconsin last Jan. 9.
Northwestern rebounded from the halftime deficit to pull to within 43-39 on back-to-back 3-pointers by Coble and Moore and a basket and free throw from Sterling Williams. But Diebler pushed the Buckeyes' lead to eight with a four-point play, making a free throw after being fouled by Thompson on a 3-point shot.
The Buckeyes got the lead to a dozen again before the Wildcats rallied to 51-44. But Othello Hunter slammed an inbounds pass from Butler with 6:10 remaining and Koufos followed with another dunk. The Wildcats weren't able to get any closer than nine the rest of the way.
Northwestern trailed 23-19 with seven minutes left in the first half but went more than six minutes without a score, missing six shots and committing a turnover during the stretch.
The drought ended when Thompson made a four-point play, hitting from behind the arc and making a free throw after being fouled by Diebler to make the score 34-23. Moore had 10 points by intermission for the Wildcats while Ohio State's Turner had all nine of his first-half points in the opening nine minutes.
Northwestern shot 31 percent (18-of-58) from the floor and made nine of 32 3-pointers (28.1 percent). The 32 attempts rank as a tie for the fourth-highest total in NU history. Ohio State shot 47.9 percent (23-of-48) and was 7 of 17 on 3-pointers (41.2 percent).
NU forced the Buckeyes into 20 turnovers and turned them into 20 points. Williams hauled in a team season-high nine rebounds for Northwestern.
The Wildcats are back in action at 8 p.m. Wednesday when they travel to Minnesota in a contest that will be shown on Big Ten Network.
The Associated Press contributed to this report