INDIANAPOLIS- The first game of day 2 of the Big Ten Tournament was nothing like most fans outside of Evanston, IL expected.Â Northwestern gave Ohio State everything they could handle, but in the end the top-ranked Buckeyes were able to prevail in overtime, 67-61.
Northwestern came into the game with a fantastic game plan which limited the Buckeyesâ€™ top player, Jared Sullinger, to just 4 points on 2 of 9 shooting in the first half.Â Not only that, but the Wildcats also controlled Ohio Stateâ€™s perimeter players in the first half, holding OSU to just 11% from three in the first half.Â Ohio State entered the half up only 5, due in large part to their tenacious rebounding.
These trends continued through the second half as Northwestern remained close throughout the game.Â Both Northwestern and Ohio State had shots to win the game at the end of regulation, but couldnâ€™t convert.Â Northwestern went to their best player, Juice Thompson, who ended the game with 15 points, who couldnâ€™t make the shot.Â Northwestern fans were screaming for a foul on that shot, but the refs didnâ€™t oblige them.Â Ohio State then took the ball down court with around 15 seconds left, and without calling a timeout got the ball in to Sullinger who also couldnâ€™t get it to fall.
In overtime Ohio State went with a steady diet of feeding Sullinger down low and getting him to the free throw line.Â 16 of Sullingerâ€™s 20 points on the game came from the free throw line, and Sullinger was 10 of 10 from the line in overtime.Â With 3:05 left in the extra period Northwesternâ€™s Luca Mirkovic was called for a technical foul for throwing his arms up in the air in exasperation.Â While William Buford missed both of the technical foul shots, this less than convincing technical foul seemed to drain Northwestern of most of its energy, and Ohio State went on to win the game.
Northwestern was led by John Shurna who had 23 points, and shot 3 of 6 from three point land.Â Drew Crawford also chipped in with 12 points and 10 rebounds.
Sullinger finished the game with 20 points and 18 rebounds as he helped the Buckeyes out rebound the Wildcats 48 to 27.Â The buckeyes also managed to grab 21 offensive rebounds, which allowed the Buckeyes plenty of second chances, and proved to be a major difference in the game.
Ohio State will now take on the winner of Michigan and Illinois on Saturday.