Forward Brice Sensabaugh led Ohio State with a game-high 18 points while the Buckeyes dominated Northwestern en route to a wire-to-wire 73-57 win on Sunday in Evanston, Illinois.
Northwestern (10-3, 1-1 Big Ten) shot just 19 of 67 from the field and an abysmal 29.0 percent from three, while the Buckeyes flipped the script on one of the conference’s best defensive teams. Ohio State (10-3, 2-0 Big Ten) countered with a 46.4 percent mark from the field and 6 of 15 shooting from three while running away from the Wildcats for much of the evening.
The Buckeyes opened the game on a 14-3 run, sparked by six early points from forward Justice Sueing. After Northwestern guard Boo Buie drilled a three to cut Northwestern’s deficit to eight, the Buckeye ripped off an 8-0 run to take a 22-6 lead with 7:51 to play in the first half.
Northwestern guard Chase Audige stopped the bleeding for the Wildcats, hitting a layup to end the Ohio State run. However, the Buckeyes cruised along on another 12-0 run, with Sueing and guard Sean McNeil each scoring five points during the stretch. Sueing and McNeil finished the first half with 11 points each, leading the Buckeyes to a 42-percent shooting mark in the opening frame.
Ohio State’s lead ballooned to as much as 26 in the opening stanza, as the Buckeyes led 34-8 with 4:31 remaining in the first half. But, Northwestern closed out the frame strong, holding OSU without a bucket for the final 5:18 in the half, utilizing a 9-1 run to cut the deficit to 35-17 entering the locker room.
The Buckeyes defense was active in the first half, holding Northwestern to 21.2 percent shooting from the field and forcing six turnovers during the frame.
Despite Northwestern’s strong finish to the first half, Ohio State came out swinging to start the second frame. The Buckeyes lifted its lead to a game-high 28 (46-18) thanks to an 11-1 run over the first 4:29 of the second half.
Although the Wildcats utilized a 12-2 run to cut Ohio State’s lead to 14 with 3:48 remaining in regulation, the Buckeyes still picked up the 16-point win at Welsh-Ryan Arena.
Forward Zed Key added his fifth double-double of the season with 11 points and 11 rebounds, while Sueing finished with 13 points, six rebounds and five assists in the win. Guard Sean McNeil also produced 15 points while hitting on 3 of 5 three-point attempts.
The guard tandem of Buie and Audige did all they could to get the Wildcats back in the game, leading Northwestern with 10 and 16 points, respectively. However, neither player was efficient in their scoring, as Buie shot 3 of 15 from the field while Audige hit just 35.3 percent of his field goal attempts.
A tall task awaits Ohio State on Thursday, as the Buckeyes host undefeated No. 1 Purdue at 7 p.m. on FS1.