Sophomore center Kaleb Wesson led the Buckeyes with 22 points in 33 minutes, as Ohio State (17-9, 7-8) used 39 second-half points to pull away from Northwestern (12-14, 3-12) Wednesday night for a 63-49 win.
It was not a glamorous offensive game for either team, as the only other scorer in double figures was Wildcats forward Vic Law with 10 points.
Ohio State held Northwestern to 18-of-57 shooting (.316) from the field and just 5-of-29 (.172) from three-point territory. The Buckeyes didn’t do much better from behind the arc, sinking just four of their 20 attempts.
Ohio State’s first basket of the game came off of a dunk by junior forward Andre Wesson. It gave the Buckeyes a 2-1 lead with 18:27 to play in the first half. Ohio State would hold that 2-1 lead for the next three minutes and change.
Northwestern senior center Dererk Pardon stopped the Wildcat drought with a layup at the 15:04 mark, giving NU a seemingly insurmountable 3-2 lead.
The Buckeyes found a quick burst of points thanks to freshman guard Duane Washington, however. He dropped in a pair of threes to give OSU a 10-5 lead at the 10:53 mark.
A CJ Jackson layup with 7:05 remaining gave Ohio State a six-point lead at 14-8, which was their largest lead of the first half. Northwestern responded with a 6-0 run to tie the game back up. The Buckeyes then answered with the next five points thanks to a three-point conversion from Andre Wesson and a layup from Kaleb Wesson.
Kaleb Wesson made a pair of free throws to give Ohio State a 24-18 lead in the final minute of the first half, but the Wildcats closed it out with a jumper from Law to make it 24-20 at the half.
Early in the second half, Law dropped in a three to make it 26-25 Ohio State, which was answered by a nice baseline dish from Kaleb Wesson to freshman Justin Ahrens for a layup. Two free throws and a layup by Kaleb Wesson ballooned the lead up to seven points. A short bit later, Wesson connected once again with Ahrens, and this time Ahrens dunked it home to give OSU a 36-27 lead.
Northwestern instantly cut the lead back down to three points on a free throw from Law and three-pointer from AJ Turner. Back-to-back field goals from Kaleb Wesson and Kyle Young gave the Buckeyes some breathing room at 40-33 with 13:14 to play.
Back-to-back three-point field goals from Kaleb Wesson and Jackson then turned a 4-point game into a 10-point game, and from there the Buckeyes began to impose their will on Northwestern. A 12-point lead at 54-42 grew to 18 with two scores by Keyshawn Woods and a layup from Washington.
The Ohio State lead would not dip under 17 points until a three-pointer from Northwestern’s Ryan Greer to finish the scoring on the night, making it 63-49 Buckeyes.
Ohio State turned the ball over just eight times, the same number as Northwestern.
The Buckeyes outscored the Wildcats 40-22 in the paint.
Kaleb Wesson led the Buckeyes with 22 points, 8 rebounds, 4 assists, 2 blocks, and a steal. He also led the team with a +14 in plus/minus. Wesson shot 8-of-14 from the field and tied a season-low with just one personal foul. He also made all five of his free throw attempts.
+ Justin Ahrens started the second half for the Buckeyes because head coach Chris Holtmann said he liked how engaged Ahrens was on the bench in the first half. Ahrens did a double take when Holtmann told him he was going in. Ahrens responded with a pair of key baseline baskets to give Ohio State momentum in the second half.
+ Duane Washington again gave the Buckeyes a boost off of the bench, and this time he also did it from the defensive end. He finished with a plus/minus of +12. He scored eight points and hit two of his five attempts from three-point range.
+ Luther Muhammad’s shooting struggles continue as he missed all four of his attempts and didn’t look comfortable on any of them. He has now made just 4-of-29 field goal attempts over the last four games. Since scoring 20 points against Penn State two weeks ago, he has scored 15 total points over the last four games.
The Box Score
Kaleb Wesson and Duane Washington