Northwestern University and Evanston's Only Daily News Source Since 1881

The Daily Northwestern

Northwestern University and Evanston's Only Daily News Source Since 1881

The Daily Northwestern

Northwestern University and Evanston's Only Daily News Source Since 1881

The Daily Northwestern


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Overwhelmed by Ohio State (Men’s Basketball)

Several times this season – at Wisconsin, at Indiana, at Michigan State – Northwestern has played a Big Ten opponent tough throughout the first half and into the second, only to see the opponent make a run to pull away late and send the Wildcats home with a loss.

Wednesday night at Welsh-Ryan Arena against Ohio State, the outcome was the same when the Buckeyes used a second-half spurt to hand NU its 16th straight conference loss, 65-47.

But the cause of Wednesday night’s game-changing run was different.

“It’s been a reoccurring theme throughout the season,” junior guard Craig Moore said. “But tonight it wasn’t as much them going on a run as us having a scoring drought and we weren’t getting the ball in the basket.”

The Cats shot just 9 of 28 (32 percent) in the final 20 minutes, with the beginning of the end (7-5, 0-11 Big Ten) coming when Ohio State’s Jon Diebler nailed a 3-pointer with 10:46 remaining in the second half to start an 18-2 Buckeyes run.

“We got worn out and Moore and (freshman guard) Mike (Thompson) were getting tired,” NU coach Bill Carmody said. “We were getting sloppy, and we weren’t ready to go the distance.”

But while the first half wasn’t necessarily good for the Cats’ offense, their defense made scoring tough for the Buckeyes (17-8, 8-4). Both teams had more than 10 turnovers, and the Cats had seven steals to the Buckeyes’ six. NU also turned the ball over twice for failing to get the ball over the half-court line in 10 seconds.

The Cats shot just 43 percent from the floor in the first half to go with their 11 turnovers.

Ohio State’s full-court press after field goals disrupted the Cats into forcing poor shots later in the shot clock and causing the team not to run its Princeton offense.

Due to the imposing presence of OSU forwards Kosta Koufos and Othello Hunter and the Buckeyes’ zone defense, Thompson failed to find driving lanes in the first half as he has the past few games. Passing didn’t come any easier, as he finished with just two assists, compared to the 4.8 assists – second best in the Big Ten – he’s averaged this season.

“They play, to be honest, an odd zone, they force you to use the center but still have a big 7-footer,” Moore said. “Koufos keeps his hands up, and you can’t see the basket.”

But the Cats would have been down more than just four at halftime if it weren’t for the stellar play of sophomore guard Jeremy Nash.

Nash had four points, two steals, a block and five rebounds by halftime to keep Ohio State within reach.

Dunks for the Cats have been few and far between in the Carmody era, but Nash threw down a jam for the Cats’ second slam in as many games.

“I was dribbling and wanted to get the momentum going,” Nash said. “I went up and just dunked it.”

Although he was harassed by the Buckeye defense, Thompson helped pace the Cats with 12 points, while Moore finished with 15 points, five assists and four steals.

Ohio State made an effort to neutralize the offense of sophomore forward Kevin Coble, who finished with just four points – his lowest offensive output since scoring he scored three against Illinois on Jan. 27. But Coble still maintained a presence on defense, earning five steals, including three in the first 10 minutes.

“We were keen onto where he was,” Buckeyes coach Thad Matta said. “We tried to challenge as many shots as we could.”

But even as the losing continues, the team is still upbeat about its chances to win a Big Ten game this season.

“We’ve got to get over the hump so we can control the game with our offense rather than playing from behind all the time,” Moore said. “If anything, it will get us more angry and work harder. Especially with the losing, you get even more of a drive to win.”

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TOMMY GIGLIO/the daily northwesternFreshman guard Michael Thompson struggled against the Ohio State defense, dishing out just two assists, in NU’s 65-47 loss to the Buckeyes on Wednesday night at Welsh-Ryan Arena. The loss gives the Cats an 0-11 start of the conference season and is the team’s 16th straight Big Ten loss, dating back to the end of last season.

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Overwhelmed by Ohio State (Men’s Basketball)