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Feb 4, 2004

Box Score| Quotes| Notes

By RUSTY MILLER
AP Sports Writer

COLUMBUS, Ohio – Tony Stockman played his best game as a Buckeye, scoring 22 points with five assists and six steals to lead Ohio State to a 72-64 victory over Northwestern on Wednesday night.

The Buckeyes (11-10, 3-5 Big Ten) made just 4 of 15 free throws in the first 39 minutes, but were 6 of 6 in the last 60 seconds.

Ohio State has won the last 10 games with Northwestern. The Wildcats (8-11, 3-5) haven’t won in Columbus since 1977 – a string of 25 consecutive losses.

Stockman was not permitted to go to the Iowa game 10 days ago by coach Jim O’Brien because of a bad attitude and poor practice habits. But since then he has keyed two victories, totaling 17 points, five assists and two steals in Saturday’s 65-59 road upset of No. 21 Purdue.

Stockman, a junior transfer from Clemson, made 8 of 12 shots from the field including 6 of 10 3-pointers to lead the Buckeyes to their best shooting night of the season. They hit 57.4 percent, making 27 of 47 from the field and 8 of 17 behind the arc.

The 22 points was Stockman’s high at Ohio State. Terence Dials and Velimir Radinovic each added 14 points and eight rebounds, with Brandon Fuss-Cheatham scoring 11 points.

Vedran Vukusic scored 24 points – hitting 6 of 8 3-pointers – to lead Northwestern. Jitim Young added 13 points and Mohamed Hachad had 11.

Stockman scored the first eight points of the second half to give Ohio State a 39-28 lead.

What grew to become a 15-point lead melted to six after big men Vukusic and Vince Scott each hit 3-pointers from the top of the circle to cut the lead to 50-44 with 7:29 remaining.

Stockman quelled that rally by hitting 3-pointers from each corner on Ohio State’s next two possessions but the Wildcats came back – thanks in part to the Buckeyes’ horrific free-throw shooting. They missed seven consecutive free throws in a 3-minute span in the middle of the second half.

Vukusic hit three 3-pointers in a row and Scott added another to cut the lead to 61-58 with 2:52 left but again Stockman answered the surge with a 3-pointer. After a turnover by the Buckeyes, Scott hit another 3 to make it 61-58 and Stockman later added another 3.

Fuss-Cheatham, Radinovic and Dials each hit two free throws in the final minute to preserve the lead.