(Photo courtesy The Lantern)
D.J. Carton scored 12 of his 17 points in the second half – this was a “heavy” contribution to assisting his fellows Buckeyes come out of their recent “hole” they have found themselves in – as they would go on and beat a Northwestern team that was “upset-minded” but, simply not strong enough to deliver such an optimistic “hope”. The Buckeye sorely needed win in Evansville on Sunday past was 71-59.
The Buckeyes at one time reached as high as # 2 in the National Rankings before plummeting and dropping six of seven and falling completely out of the polls altogether (as they should have). But they did get back on track this past Sunday as their defense stepped up, holding the Wildcats to 26.7% shooting in the second half.
Justin Ahrens made four 3-pointers and scored 12 points for the Buckeyes (13-7, 3-6 Big Ten). Kaleb Wesson had 11 points and nine rebounds, and his brother Andre also scored 11 points.
Northwestern (6-13, 1-8) lost for the ninth time in 10 games. Miller Kopp scored 20 points for the Wildcats, and Pat Spencer finished with 13.
Boo Buie (love that name) made a 3-pointer to give Northwestern a 44-41 lead with 14:44 left. But Ohio State responded with a 14-2 run.
Carton opened the decisive stretch with consecutive baskets, which included a fast-break layup that put the Buckeyes ahead – where they would remain. Ahrens added some sweet cream to the run with two 3’s, pushing the score to 55-46 with 11:30 left.
The Wildcats closed to 59-55 on Ryan Young’s layup with 5:14 remaining. D.J. Carton stepped up again, making two foul shots and converting an acrobatic alley-oop off a pass from Duane Washington Jr. NICE!
WHAT’S IT ALL MEAN:
The Ohio State University got off to a slow start in each half. But the result – was, well, encouraging – with what has been happening, or not happening on the court of late. Ahrens led the assault as he went 11 for 29 from 3-point range.
Northwestern led by as many as nine in the first half but struggled to score down the stretch. Thank goodness, huh!
The Buckeyes hosts Indiana on Saturday. The Buckeyes lost 66-54 to the Hoosiers on Jan. 11. So, hopefully, February will be kinder to the Buckeyes.