December 26, 2020

Buckeyes Drop 71-70 Decision to Northwestern

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COLUMBUS, Ohio – Northwestern is 3-0 in the Big Ten for the first time in over 50 years, compliments of a comeback, 71-70, victory over No. 23 Ohio State Saturday afternoon at Welsh-Ryan Arena. The win was Northwestern’s third consecutive and lifts its records to 6-1 overall and 3-0 in the Big Ten. Ohio State, which led 64-57 with 7 minutes left to play, falls to 7-2 overall and 1-2 in the Big Ten.

The Wildcats, who were led in scoring by Miller Kopp with 23 points, kept the Buckeyes scoreless for five consecutive possessions to keep the score close when trailing at that 7 minute mark. A basket by E.J. Liddell, who led the Buckeyes with 15 points, stopped the run of empty possessions and gave Ohio State a 66-63 lead. A Kopp runner and a three by Chase Audige then gave the Wildcats their first lead since early in the second half, 68-66.

Kyle Young, who had 14 points and tied Liddell for game-high honors with eight rebounds, hit his third jump hook of the game to tie the score at 68-all. But then Boo Buie hit a long three-pointer with 1:04 to play and Ohio State managed only two free throws by Young, with :47 left on the clock, the rest of the way.

At 71-70 and following a defensive stop by Ohio State, the Buckeyes had the ball with 12 seconds to play. Following a timeout, Duane Washington Jr. drove the right side of the lane but missed, Liddell grabbed the rebound but had it poked away and a Wildcat was then fouled. He missed the free throw and a desperation attempt at the end by the Buckeyes went awry.

“Give Northwestern credit for pulling it out and making some shots there at the end,” Ohio State coach Chris Holtmann said on the Ohio State Sports Radio Network.

The two teams were tied at halftime, 34-all. Seth Towns was four of four from the field, including hitting all three of his three-point attempts, to lead the Buckeyes with 11 points off the bench in the half. He also had three rebounds while Eugene Brown III grabbed four to help the Buckeyes to a 21-14 advantage in that department.

Ohio State hit 44 pct. of its field goals but was just 4 of 20 from three-point range. The Buckeyes held a commanding 40-26 rebound advantage for the game. Ten Ohio State turnovers led to 20 Wildcat points.

Washington Jr., who was averaging over 15 points per game coming in and had reached double figures in every game this season, managed just seven points while fellow starters C.J. Walker and Justice Sueing had six apiece.

The Buckeyes host Nebraska Wednesday at 6:30 p.m. at Value City Arena. Northwestern, which also has wins over Michigan State and Indiana for its first 3-0 start since the 1967-68 season, meets No. 4 Iowa on Wednesday.

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