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After close call last time against Northwestern, No. 16 Ohio State readies for road challenge

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Ohio State's Aaron Craft, left, looks for an open pass as Michigan State's Keith Appling defends during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game Sunday, Feb. 24, 2013, in Columbus, Ohio. Ohio State beat Michigan State 68-60. (AP Photo/Jay LaPrete) (The Associated Press)

The last time Ohio State played Northwestern, the wounded Wildcats had the Buckeyes on the ropes most of the night.

Then the Buckeyes went on a late 12-0 run to pull off a 69-59 home win that might mislead some to thinking they were more in control than they actually ever were.

The teams will meet again on Thursday night at Welsh-Ryan Arena and coach Thad Matta knows his team must be well aware of the pitfalls of playing not just on the road in the Big Ten but in a place that seemingly has always been a difficult place for the Buckeyes.

Coming off one of its biggest wins of the season, Ohio State (20-7, 10-5) has a lot riding on the game at Northwestern (13-15, 4-11).