Ohio State Wins Tight One On Road: Remain Unbeaten

EVANSTON, Ill. (AP) - Jared Sullinger hit the second of two free

throws with 3.5 seconds left Saturday night and No. 1 Ohio State

overcame a furious rally by Northwestern to beat the Wildcats 58-57

- the unbeaten Buckeyes' 22nd straight victory.

Sullinger finished with 21 points and Aaron Craft had 13 points

for Ohio State.

Leading by only two at the half, Ohio State (22-0, 9-0 Big Ten)

pulled out to a 13-point lead in the second half. But Northwestern,

playing without leading scorer John Shurna, who has a concussion,

came back behind senior guard Michael Thompson, who led the

Wildcats with 16 points - 13 in the second half.

Thompson's 3-pointer with 3:51 left capped a 21-7 run as the

Wildcats took a 55-54 lead and the crowd at Welsh-Ryan Arena


Seconds later, Ohio State's Jon Diebler - No. 5 all-time in the

Big Ten in 3-pointers made - hit one for his first basket of the

game to put the Buckeyes right back in front 57-55.

Thompson then sailed through the lane and the 5-foot-10 guard

floated the ball into the basket for a tie with 1:31 left.

After an Ohio State turnover and then a foul, Northwestern

retained possession and tried to set up a go-ahead shot. But Ohio

State's David Lighty stole a pass with 17 seconds to go.

The Buckeyes got the ball to their freshman star Sullinger and

he was fouled with 3.5 seconds left. His first attempt hit the

front of the rim as Northwestern's student section waived, screamed

and tried to distract him from under the basket. He then swished

the second for a 58-57 Buckeyes' lead.

Following three timeouts, Drew Crawford's long attempt from just

over the midcourt line hit the backboard and Ohio State had pulled

out the tough victory.

Northwestern (13-8, 3-7) is now 0-16 all-time playing top-ranked


Thompson's 3-pointer with 7:53 left cut the lead to nine, and

Ohio State's Dallas Lauderdale was called for an intentional foul

on the play near the basket. Davide Curletti made 1 of 2 free

throws and the Wildcats retained possession with JerShon Cobb

hitting a 3-pointer. The seven-point possession made it 51-46 with

just a little more than seven minutes remaining and got

Northwestern back in the game.

Northwestern won the boards, despite the absence of the 6-8

Shurna, 31-20 and had 14 on the offensive end. Ohio State shot 57

percent for the game and Sullinger was 7 for 12 from the field.

The Buckeyes have now matched the second longest winning streak

in school history.

In 2006-07 Ohio State also won 22 straight, counting tournament

games, before losing in the NCAA championship game. The 1961-62

team was victorious in its first 22 games. The longest Buckeyes win

streak was 32, spanning two seasons from 1959-60 (last five) to

1960-61 (first 27).

(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)