Feb. 29, 2012
Box Score |
Watch Game Highlights | Postgame News Conference (AA)
Site: Evanston, Ill. (Welsh-Ryan Arena)
Score: #10 Ohio State 75, Northwestern 73
Records: NU (17-12, 7-10 Big Ten), Ohio State (24-6, 12-5 Big Ten)
Next NU Event: Saturday, March 3 - at Iowa (Carver-Hawkeye Arena), 1:30 p.m.
EVANSTON, Ill. - Northwestern battled another ranked Big Ten foe until the bitter end Wednesday at Welsh-Ryan Arena but No. 10 Ohio State edged the 'Cats, 75-73, in the closing seconds. Despite trailing by as many as 13 points, Northwestern rallied back in the second half.
An Alex Marcotullio 3-pointer tied the game at 73-73 with less 7.7 seconds to play but Jared Sullinger scored the winning bucket with 3.1 seconds left, as the Buckeyes escaped with the win.
John Shurna's attempt from just inside halfcourt bounced off the front of the rim.
Drew Crawford led the 'Cats in scoring with 23 points on 9-of-11 from the field, including 4-of-6 from 3-point range. Shurna, who was honored prior to Wednesday's game along with Davide Curletti, Nick Fruendt and Luka Mirkovic for Senior Night, finished with 22 points.
Trailing by 12 with 5:39 left following a basket by Lenzelle Smith Jr., the Wildcats refused to go away. Marcotullio started the comeback with a 3-pointer and Shurna was fouled going to the rack on the next possession and connected on a pair of free throw ties to make it 70-63 with 4:47 remaining.
Coming out of the final media timeout, Reggie Hearn scored on a layup to make it a five-point game. Deshaun Thomas pushed the Buckeyes' lead back to eight with a triple, but Dave Sobolewski answered with one of his own out of the corner to make it 73-68.
The deficit was still five with under a minute to go when Sobolewski tied up Sullinger following an offensive rebound to give NU the ball on the alternating possession. JerShon Cobb was fouled with 47.1 seconds to go and hit two from the charity stripe to get Northwestern within three.
On the ensuing inbounds play, Northwestern forced Smith into a travel, giving the Wildcats the ball back with 41.2 seconds remaining. Hearn missed a jumper, but Cobb came up with a huge steal and the Wildcats took their final timeout with 16.9 seconds to go.
Marcotullio took a 25-foot triple from the top of the key and drained it to complete the comeback. However, following a timeout, Aaron Craft pushed the ball up court and found Sullinger who banked in the game-winner.
"It didn't seem like we could overcome that lead of theirs," said Northwestern head coach Bill Carmody, "but then all of a sudden we had some stops and got back in it. Our defense got some stops and we turned them over. They had 16 turnovers and that's what we're trying to do."
NU hung tight in the contest despite being beaten on the glass by connecting on 13 of 27 3-point field goals in the contest with Crawford and Shurna nailing four apiece.
Ohio State connected on its first six field goal attempts in the contest as it jumped out to an 18-8 lead. Meanwhile, the Wildcats struggled to knock down shots as the visitors maintained close to a double-digit lead for the majority of the first half.
With his team trailing by 12, 30-18, with just under five minutes left, Shurna caught fire, hitting a trio of 3-pointers the rest of the period to keep NU within 39-29 at the half.
Northwestern got back within five points, 58-53, following a free throw by Crawford midway through the second stanza, but an 8-1 run by Ohio State pushed their advantage back up to 12. The Wildcats would rally all the way back before being forced to settle for another narrow loss in the end.
NU wraps up its regular season Saturday as it travels to Iowa. Tip-off is set for 1:30 p.m.
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