Jan. 29, 2011
Box Score |
WATCH: Game Highlights | Postgame (Free Preview) | Full Postgame News Conf. (AA)
No. 1 Ohio State 58, Northwestern 57
Site: Welsh-Ryan Arena Evanston, Ill.
Records: Northwestern (13-8, 3-7 Big Ten), Ohio State (22-0, 9-0 Big Ten)
Up Next: vs. Illinois Saturday, Feb. 5 Noon CBS
EVANSTON, Ill. -- Northwestern gave top-ranked Ohio State all it could handle, rallying from a 13-point deficit early in the second half before eventually falling 58-57.
OSU freshman forward Jared Sullinger hit the second of two free throw attempts with 3.5 seconds remaining to break a tie score. Drew Crawford's desperation 3-point attempt from just inside midcourt missed to the left, allowing the Buckeyes to remain undefeated.
The Wildcats played the contest without the services of John Shurna, the team's top scorer and the fourth-leading scorer in the Big Ten. The junior forward missed the game after suffering a concussion on Wednesday against Minnesota.
Despite being short-handed, NU played toe-to-toe with the Buckeyes. Northwestern made just two of its 12 field goal attempts over the opening 10 minutes of play, but trailed just 15-8.
The teams came into the contest as the top two scoring squads in the Big Ten, but the Wildcats were able to slow the tempo and make the Buckeyes work on the defensive end.
Still down seven with nine minutes remaining in the opening stanza, the NU offense finally came to life. A free throw and a layup by Drew Crawford got the Wildcats within three before a bucket by Mike Capocci and a transition trey by JerShon Cobb gave the hosts an 18-17 lead.
Ohio State would eventually take a 27-25 lead at the break as Sullinger led the way with 10 points.
It looked as though the Buckeyes would pull away in the second half as they started the period on a 14-4 run to go ahead 41-29 with 14 minutes remaining. The guests' lead would eventually grow to 13 with 11:47 left, but Northwestern refused to go away.
OSU's advantage was still 12 with eight minutes to go when the Wildcats made their move. A seven-point trip down the court helped bring NU back. Michael Thompson drilled a 3-pointer and Davide Curletti took an elbow to the throat by Dallas Lauderdale on the play, drawing an intentional foul. Curletti made one of two free throws before Cobb hit a trey to make it 51-46.
Following two from the charity stripe by David Lighty, Thompson and Alex Marcotullio hit consecutive triples and suddenly Northwestern was within one at 53-52. Sullinger hit one from the line on the other end before Thompson blew the roof off the building by hitting a 3-pointer with 3:50 left to give the Wildcats a 55-54 lead.
Jon Diebler answered with his only basket of the game, a three, to put Ohio State back on top, but Thompson's runner in the lane with 1:32 left tied the score.
Northwestern forced an OSU turnover on the other end to give the hosts a chance to take the lead. Following a Buckeye foul with 46.2 seconds to go, the Wildcats turned the ball over and Sullinger drew a foul on the other end. He missed the first from the line but hit the second to allow Ohio State to escape.
Thompson paced NU with 16 points and eight assists. Capocci, who got the starting nod in place of Shurna, finished with 11 points, one shy of his career high. Northwestern dominated the boards, owning a 31-20 advantage. The Wildcats snared 13 offensive rebounds which helped them own an 18-4 edge in second-chance points.
NU returns to action at noon Saturday, Feb. 5 as it hosts Illinois. The contest is sold out.
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