Ohio State got 22 points and eight rebounds from Kaleb Wesson for 63-49 victory over Northwestern at Value City Arena on Wednesday.
He was the lone player in double figures for the Buckeyes (17-9, 7-8 Big Ten), who had lost two straight and are considered a bubble team for the NCAA Tournament.
Most importantly, Wesson had one foul in 31 minutes and dished out four assists and had two blocks.
“I give a lot of credit to Kaleb,” OSU coach Chris Holtmann said. “I thought he had a really good approach in this game. He was really aggressive from the tip. He did a heck of a job with his aggressiveness on both ends.”
Vic Law had 10 points for Northwestern (12-14, 3-12), which has lost seven in a row.
The Wildcats were within 42-38 when Jackson put OSU up 45-38 with a trey before going to the bench nine seconds later with his fourth foul. Kaleb Wesson nailed a three and made a shot in paint for a 50-40 lead with 8:24 remaining in the game in front of a turnout of 12,032.
Dererk Pardon ended the OSU with a basket out of a timeout, but Kyle Young’s short jumper and Kaleb Wesson’s dunk off a pass by Duane Washington Jr. made f or a 54-40 margin with 7:07 left.
Anthony Gaines made it 54-42 after he stole the ball Keyshawn Woods had five of seven straight OSU points for a 61-42 lead with 3:56 left.
Ohio State shot 46.3 percent from the floor despite making 4 of 20 (20.0 percent) 3-pointers. The Buckeyes had 18 assists on 25 field goals and committed eight turnovers.
The Buckeyes, who didn’t make a bucket the final 7:42 against Michigan State on Sunday – missing their final 10 shots in a 62-44 loss – didn’t fare much better in the opening seven minutes of the game vs. Northwestern but fortunately for them the Wildcats were just as bad.
The teams combined to make 2 of their first 19 shots and missed all nine tries from beyond the arc until Washington canned a triple with 12:39 left to give the Buckeyes a 5-3 lead.
Despite the poor shooting, the Buckeyes led 14-8 before Northwestern ran off six straight points. Kaleb Wesson scored five consecutive points to give Ohio State a 19-14 advantage before A.J. Turner stopped the run with a field goal.
Andre Wesson scored three straight for a 22-16 lead and Turner responded with a bucket. Kaleb Wesson made a pair of foul shots for the Buckeyes’ final points as they went the last 2:50 without a field goal. Law’s jumper pulled Northwestern to within four with 34 seconds left.
The Wildcats shot 29.1 percent (7 for 24) in the first half; Ohio State 37.5 percent (9 for 24). Northwestern was 2 for 11 (18.1 percent) on three-pointers; the Buckeyes were slightly worse on 2 for 12 (16.7 percent).
The Buckeyes received a scare when Andre Wesson left the game with 1:23 remaining in the first half. He suffered an elbow contusion but was able to return for the second half and finished with seven points in the 31 minutes.
OSU plays at No. 24 Maryland on Saturday (2 p.m., ESPN). The Terrapins beat the Buckeyes 75-61 at Value City Arena on Jan. 18.