The Buckeyes entered the contest on a 13-game losing streak on the road, with their last win coming on Jan. 1, 2023 — a convincing 73-57 victory over these same Wildcats. In a season that did not go the way that Ohio State wanted, one of the lone bright spots was that win over Northwestern in Evanston. The Buckeyes went up 34-8 in the first half and never looked back, leading 35-17 at the half and winning by 16.
Brice Sensabaugh led the way with 18 points and eight rebounds, Sean McNeil recorded 15 points, and Zed Key finished with a double-double, recording 12 points and 11 rebounds. It was the last game Key played healthy of the season. Justice Sueing added 13 points, six rebounds, and five assists.
However, the Buckeyes have not won on the road since that game and were 0-4 on the road this season entering tonight’s game, with losses to Michigan, Penn State, Indiana, and Nebraska.
Northwestern was coming off a big win over No. 10 Illinois in overtime Wednesday night, defeating the Illini 96-91 behind 29 points from Boo Buie on 12-for-25 shooting from the field. Buie leads the Wildcats on the season, averaging 18.5 points per game and 5.3 assists per game.
Ty Berry and Ryan Langborg average 11.5 and 11.3 points per game, respectively.
For Ohio State, Bruce Thornton leads the Buckeyes into this one, averaging 16.0 points per game, 4.5 assists per game, and 3.2 rebounds per game. Jamison Battle averages 14.2 points per game and 5.5 rebounds per game, and Roddy Gayle averages 13.7 points per game and 5.0 rebounds per game.
The game was tipped at 8:42, and Northwestern won the tip, but Ohio State sophomore guard Roddy Gayle scored the first points.
Points didn’t come easy to start, as Ohio State started 1-for-5 from the field, and Northwestern started 2-for-6. Five of Ohio State’s first nine points came from the free-throw line, while Northwestern started 2-for-4 from the three-point line.
Jamison Battle made the first three-pointer for the Buckeyes. He averages 2.9 made three-pointers per game, which leads the Big Ten.
At the under-12 media timeout, Northwestern led Ohio State 15-12.
Bowen Hardman came into this one and immediately hit a three-pointer to try and provide a spark. He knocked down a three-pointer and helped cut into the Buckeye deficit. However, the Wildcats shot 7-for-13 from three-point range, leading the Buckeyes 41-30 at the half.
Ryan Langborg led Northwestern with 14 points at the half, while Bruce Thornton and Roddy Gayle led the Buckeyes with nine points each.
The Wildcats picked up where they left off, starting the second half on a 5-0 run to take a 46-30 early second-half lead.
Boo Buie knocked down a three-pointer to give the Wildcats a 50-33 lead at the under-16 timeout. After another field goal, Buie became the third leading scorer in Northwestern history.
The Buckeye's shooting struggles continued throughout the second half, as the Wildcats were able to take a 59-39 lead into the under-12 media timeout. This was the largest deficit of the year for the Buckeyes.
At the under-8 media timeout, Northwestern stretched the lead to 71-40. The Wildcats never made it easier on the Buckeyes, as the Buckeyes trailed 81-46 at the under-4 media timeout.
Northwestern finished this contest off with an 83-58 win.
Boo Buie led the Wildcats with 19 points, while Roddy Gayle and Bruce Thornton led Ohio State with 15 and 14 points, respectively.
Here are some storylines from the game:
Ohio State shooting woes
Over the last five games, Ohio State is 27-for-111 (24.3%) from the three-point line. Graduate senior forward Jamison Battle is 14-for-29 (48.3%), while the rest of the team is 13-for-82 (15.9%). They started Big Ten play third in the conference from the three-point line and have fallen to eighth place.
The Buckeyes finished 5-for-19 from three-point range and 14-for-39 from the field against Northwestern.
Bowen Hardman enters
Entering the Nebraska game, the Buckeyes were looking for a spark shooting the ball, so Chris Holtmann turned to sophomore guard Bowen Hardman, who finished with 11 points on 3-for-7 shooting.
Hardman entered the first half against Northwestern and made his first three-point attempt. He finished the half 1-for-2 from three-point range and overall.
Not only have the Buckeyes struggled to make shots, but the three-point defense from the Buckeyes has left a lot to be desired. Over the last five games where the Buckeyes have been slumping, Buckeyes opponents have shot 49-for-108 (45.4%) from the three-point line. In the first half of this contest, Northwestern shot 7-for-13 from three-point range to take an 11-point lead into the half.