by Stix Lightfoot
Ohio State survived yet another scare Wednesday, February 29th, with a 75-73 win against Northwestern. It all came down to the final buzzer, as a half-court shot from John Shurna bounced off the front iron.
Alex Marcotullio tied it up at 73-73 (with a deep three from middle of the floor) with 7.7 seconds left. After a time out, Aaron Craft fed Jared Sullinger in the post, who laid it in with 3.1 seconds left, giving the Buckeyes a two point lead. Northwestern inbounded the ball to Shurna, who ran to just inside half-court and heaved a prayer that went unanswered.
The story of the game was on the glass, as Ohio State out-rebounded Northwestern 44-18. Both Sullinger and Deshaun Thomas had double-digit rebounds, including 11 offensive boards for Sullinger. The Buckeyes pulled down 20 second-chance opportunities as a team, making it much easier for them to score every trip down the floor. The Buckeyes jumped out to a 22-5 edge on the boards in the first half, setting the tone for the second half.
Sullinger led the way for the Buckeyes, not only on the glass, but in points as well, finishing with 22. Buckeyes fans are hoping this is a preview of things to come for the sophomore center, who has struggled of late. Sullinger was in Player-of-the-Year contention earlier in the season, but dropped off as he, and the team, began struggling.
The win elevated the Buckeyes record to 24-6, 12-5 within the Big Ten. The Wildcats dropped to 17-12, 7-10 in league play.