Sunday, February 2, 2003

Ohio State 65, Northwestern 52

It's an inside job for Bucks

The Associated Press

COLUMBUS - Ohio State needed a win in the worst way - and that's exactly how the Buckeyes got it.

In a sloppy performance by both teams at both ends of the floor, the Buckeyes ended a two-game losing skid at home with a 65-52 win over Northwestern on Saturday.

Brent Darby led Ohio State (10-9, 3-5 Big Ten) with 15 points, Sean Connolly had 13 and Zach Williams added 11.

Velimir Radinovic scored five of his 12 points during a 17-3 second-half run as the Buckeyes relied on their muscle inside and out to defeat the Wildcats (8-10, 0-7) for an eighth straight time.

"They're not a very good offensive rebounding team," Ohio State coach Jim O'Brien said. "They had four guys on the perimeter - a lot of the time they had five guys. We really felt their rebounding on offense was not going to be a major issue. We had a size advantage."

The Wildcats shot a school-record 36 3-pointers - making 10 - while hitting nine of 20 shots inside the arc against the Buckeyes' zone defense.

"It was just too physical for our guys," Northwestern coach Bill Carmody said. "Can you win taking those things (3-pointers)? You make them and then maybe they don't play that zone anymore."

Ohio State outrebounded Northwestern 45-26. Radinovic and Williams each had 10 rebounds.

"It's our inside game and free throw shooting versus their 3-pointers outside," O'Brien said. "Our zone gave us the opportunity to take control of the game."

Carmody said his team could not compete with the Buckeyes up front.

"If they get the ball inside 20 times, you're not going to win the battle," he said.

Northwestern dropped to 2-20 in Big Ten road games in Carmody's three seasons.

Aaron Jennings led the Wildcats, who lost their seventh straight game, with 15 points, and Winston Blake added 14.

The Buckeyes led 36-32 after Jennings scored on a 10-foot jumper with 16:54 left. Over the next nine minutes, Ohio State scored 17 of 20 points to take control by consistently working the ball down low.

"They had Jennings as an inside presence, but they weren't looking to him. They took the outside shot and we were able to rebound," said Radinovic, who started the spurt with a pair of free throws.

Connolly added five points and Williams had three before Darby scored his only points of the surge on a jumper from the lane at the 7:57 mark to make it 53-35.

"We're just trying to collect as many wins as possible to move up in the conference," Darby said.

The Buckeyes lost four of their previous five games.

NORTHWESTERN (8-10)-Hachad 2-8 1-3 5, Burke 2-6 1-1 5, Jennings 6-12 0-0 15, Parker 0-6 0-0 0, Young 1-2 2-4 5, Blake 5-12 0-1 14, Maley 1-3 0-1 2, Seacat 2-7 0-0 6, Duvancic 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 19-56 4-10 52.

OHIO ST. (10-9)-Williams 4-9 3-6 11, Radinovic 4-6 4-5 12, Fuss-Cheatham 0-2 2-2 2, Connolly 4-8 3-3 11, Darby 5-12 4-5 15, Jernigan 0-0 2-2 2, Sylvester 4-8 1-4 9, Jenkins 0-1 1-2 1. Totals 21-46 20-29 65.

Halftime-OSU 32, Northwestern 27. 3-point goals-Northwestern 10-36 (Blake 4-10, Jennings 3-7, Seacat 2-7, Young 1-2, Maley 0-2, Burke 0-2, Hachad 0-3, Parker 0-3), OSU 3-12 (Connolly 2-4, Darby 1-5, Fuss-Cheatham 0-1, Sylvester 0-2). Rebounds-Northwestern 26 (Burke 5), OSU 45 (Williams, Radinovic 10). Assists-Northwestern 12 (Burke 4), OSU 13 (Darby 5). Fouls-Northwestern 19, OSU 11. A-15,772.

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