For the second straight game, Northwestern was ice cold. And for the second straight game, that meant a loss.
While Wednesday night's game against Ohio State was far closer than last weekend's loss to Maryland, Northwestern's shooting woes were more glaring as the Cats couldn't keep up with the Buckeyes in the final minutes, falling by a score of 65-56 to drop to 1-2 in Big Ten play.
Northwestern shot just 31.3 percent from the field and went 6-for-25 from 3-point range, nearly as bad as the 2-for-20 3-point-shooting performance against Maryland.
Bryant McIntosh had a team-high 15 points and kept the Cats alive throughout with big shots, but he went just 5-for-15 from the field. Tre Demps scored just seven points on 3-for-17 shooting. Aaron Falzon was 3-for-11 from the field and 1-for-7 from 3, while Dererk Pardon — who had 14 rebounds — was 4-for-11 from the field.
Despite those woeful shooting numbers, Northwestern was neck and neck with Ohio State for the majority of the game. The Buckeyes didn't shoot much better from 3-point range, and that plus turnover and free-throw struggles by the visitors in the first 20 minutes allowed the Cats to hang around. Ohio State built its biggest first-half lead at nine about four minutes before halftime, but Northwestern responded. Gavin Skelly got back-to-back buckets, and Demps and Nathan Taphorn hit back-to-back 3s for a 10-0 run to close the half, the Cats taking a 27-26 lead into the break.
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Through the first half of the second half, Ohio State's lead didn't get any bigger than four, and McIntosh's 3-pointer with about nine minutes to play tied the game at 44. After a Kam Williams 3 shortly thereafter gave the Buckeyes a five-point edge, McIntosh had a three-point play to cut the deficit to a basket. Falzon hit his only 3 of the game to cut it to a one-point game with six minutes to go, but Ohio State punched back with six straight points. A McIntosh 3 kept the Cats alive to make it a four-point game with a little under four minutes to go. But the Cats' cold shooting finally knocked them out, as the Buckeyes scored the next eight points to pull away, the Cats shooting 1-for-6 following that last McIntosh 3-pointer.
The Buckeyes shot 44.6 percent from the field and won the rebounding battle, 33-28, helping to offset 12 turnovers and a dreadful 10-for-22 effort from the free-throw line.
Williams was sensational for Ohio State, scoring 21 points and hitting five 3-pointers. Trevor Thompson had a double-double with 12 points and 10 rebounds. Marc Loving scored 10 points and grabbed seven rebounds.
Ohio State continued to dominate the all-time series against Northwestern, winning for the 28th time in the last 29 meetings.
After a 13-1 start to the season, the Cats have dropped their last two games, sitting at 13-3 on the season and 1-2 in conference play. Next up is a Saturday trip to Minnesota.
The win was the seventh straight for the Buckeyes, who have rebounded nicely from a shaky 4-5 start that featured a four-game losing streak. Ohio State now sits at 11-5 on the season and a perfect 3-0 in league play. Next is a Sunday visit to Indiana.