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Ohio State pulls away in first half, hangs on to down Northwestern

Jan 1, 2023; Evanston, Illinois, USA; Northwestern Wildcats guard Ty Berry (3) defends Ohio State Buckeyes guard Roddy Gayle Jr. (1) during the first half at Welsh-Ryan Arena. Mandatory Credit: David Banks-USA TODAY Sports

Brice Sensabaugh scored 16 of his 18 points in the second half, and Ohio State raced to a big halftime lead to defeat Northwestern 73-57 in Evanston, Ill., on Sunday to end the Wildcats’ five-game winning streak.

Sean McNeil scored 15 points, Justice Sueing 13 and Zed Key 11 for the Buckeyes (10-3, 2-0 Big Ten).

Ohio State led by 18 at the break and quickly built the advantage to 28, 46-18, within the first five minutes of the second half against the Wildcats (10-3, 1-1).

Northwestern later went on a 12-2 spurt to pull to within 63-49 with 3:48 left, but Sensabaugh scored five straight points on two possessions to ice the win.

Chase Audige led the Wildcats with 16 points. Ty Berry added 11 points and Boo Buie 10.

Northwestern got a morale victory trailing 35-17 at the half considering a stunningly inept offensive performance for most of the opening 20 minutes that had the Wildcats down 34-8 with 4:31 remaining.

Ohio State led 4-3 when the Wildcats went cold, and the Buckeyes hit their next six shots for an 18-6 lead. Northwestern’s total was from a pair of 3-pointers by Buie, and none of his teammates registered a point until the 7:28 mark when Audige’s jumper made it 22-8.

By then, the Wildcats were 3 of 24 from the floor. Northwestern would misfire on its next three shots and the Buckeyes went on a 12-0 run for their biggest lead to that point before the Wildcats found their game and Ohio State lost it.

Northwestern made three shots in a row late in the first half while the Buckeyes went the last 5:18 without a field goal, missing seven shots.

Ohio State made 41.9 percent of its field goals in the opening frame, while Northwestern hit on 21.2 percent. The Wildcats also went 0-for-4 from the free-throw line.

Northwestern returns to the court Wednesday to host Illinois. The Buckeyes are home Thursday to play top-ranked Purdue.

–Field Level Media