Deshaun Thomas recorded 22 points and seven rebounds to lead No. 13 Ohio State to a 69-59 win over Northwestern on Thursday.
Thomas shot just 6-for-17 from the field and didn't make any of his five 3- point attempts. However, he was 10-for-12 from the free throw line for the Buckeyes (18-6, 8-4 Big Ten), who snapped a two-game losing streak. Lenzelle Smith Jr. had 12 points and six rebounds, while Amir Williams registered 10 points and eight rebounds.
"I give a lot of credit to Northwestern," said Ohio State head coach Thad Matta. "They made shots that were difficult and in the first half we weren't challenging baskets, which we paid for."
Tre Demps scored 16 points for the Wildcats (13-12, 4-8), who have lost two straight and four of their past five games. Kale Abrahamson and Reggie Hearn scored 13 and 12 points, respectively.
"We didn't really know what to expect coming through the door, but I'm really proud of the way the guys compete," said Northwestern head coach Bill Carmody. "They played hard and executed what we had in mind. You don't want to lose but I thought that they really did a nice job."
Down 48-43 with 8:51 left to play, Thomas threw down a monster dunk, the first of nine points he would score over the next three minutes.
Down 51-49 with 5:51 remaining in regulation, Shannon Scott fired a three- pointer to give the Buckeyes a 52-51 edge.
Abrahamson then fired a three-point play to take back the lead, 54-52. Thomas responded back with a three-point play of his own.
With the score tied, 57-57, a Thomas jumped started a 10-0 run for the Buckeyes. Sam Thompson made two consecutive dunks to cap off the swing and the Buckeyes put the game out of reach, 67-57, with 32 seconds left.
Northwestern had a strong start offensively. After Ohio State scored the first four points of the game, the Wildcats went on a 10-0 run to give them a 10-4 advantage.
At the 7:25 mark, Northwestern's lead was 22-16. However, a 7-0 run by the Buckeyes gave them a one-point lead with 4:34 remaining.
A dunk by Williams extended the lead to three late in the half, but Demps made a 3-pointer with one second to go and tied the game at 30-30 at halftime.
Ohio State is 112-45 all-time against Northwestern, including 66-14 at home ... The last time Northwestern beat Ohio State on the road was on Feb. 24, 1977.