Sunday, January 13, 2002

Ohio St. 55, Northwestern 48

Enquirer staff and news services

        EVANSTON, Ill. — Ohio State coach Jim O'Brien doesn't mind winning ugly at Northwestern.

        Brian Brown scored 13 points and Zach Williams added 12 as the Buckeyes got a ragged 55-48 victory over the Wildcats on Saturday night.

        “It's the same thing every time,” said O'Brien, whose club won 69-57 at Northwestern a year ago. “Every game we play here is exactly the same, but you have to be happy to escape with a win. It's always a low-scoring game, and they constantly switch on defense, which makes them hard to play.”

        The Buckeyes (12-2, 3-0 Big Ten) went 0-of-12 from 3-point range and committed 14 turnovers, but managed to win their sixth straight.

        “I'm glad we had an off night and still won. That's the sign of a good team,” said the Buckeyes' Boban Savovic, who was 1-of-10 from the field for two points, 11 below his average.

        “It feels like we were 0-for-30 (on 3-pointers),” said Brent Darby, who missed all five of his 3-point attempts. “We just couldn't put it down.”

        But the Wildcats were worse, committing 19 turnovers and missing several chances to make a close game tighter by going 11-of-22 from the foul line.

        “I can't find too many faults except with what we did at the foul line,” Northwestern coach Bill Carmody said. “When we missed some foul shots, it kept us six points down instead of four, and that changes the game.”

        Williams sparked the Buckeyes off the bench with 5-of-8 shooting and seven rebounds. He had started Ohio State's first 13 games, but O'Brien made Williams a reserve Saturday for undisclosed reasons.

        “It's a team thing, a team issue,” O'Brien said.

        Ohio State scored the first six points, led 12-3 after a layup by Williams, and never trailed. Williams hit two jumpers and made a pair of free throws to put the Buckeyes up 22-13.

        Tavaras Hardy, whose 21 points led Northwestern, scored all the points in a 7-0 run that got the Wildcats (8-6, 0-3) within 22-20.

        Ohio State's Will Dudley then kicked a chair on the bench after getting called for a foul. He later cooled off and made a short jumper to help the Buckeyes extended their lead to 28-22 at halftime.

        The Wildcats kept the game close the rest of the way.

        Northwestern closed to 35-32 midway through the second half, but the Buckeyes widened the margin to 44-35. The closest the Wildcats got again was five points.

        Ohio State hit just 11-of-32 shots from the field in the first half, but went 10-of-19 after halftime.


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