Friday, March 11, 2011
Rapid Reaction: Ohio State 67, N'western 61
By Pat Forde
INDIANAPOLIS -- Ohio State dodged a major upset, outlasting Northwestern 67-61 in overtime in the Big Ten quarterfinals. The victory strengthens the Buckeyes' case for an overall No. 1 seed in the NCAA tourney, but it didn't come easy. They trailed late in regulation before asserting control in overtime.
Star of the game: Buckeyes big man Jared Sullinger wore out every big man the Wildcats threw at him. He fouled out Davide Curletti and Luka Mirkovic and drew fouls from John Shurna as well. For the game Sullinger had 20 points and 18 rebounds and shot 18 free throws. With the more veteran Buckeyes all struggling shooting the ball, Sullinger's brute strength was key.
Turning point: Down 56-52 in OT, Mirkovic hit a big 3-pointer. But then he committed his fourth foul against Sullinger, and in frustration slammed his mouthpiece to the ground. That was a technical foul, and that fouled him out. After that Sullinger made six more free throws to ice the game.
Stat of the game: Ohio State shot 14 more free throws and grabbed 17 more rebounds.
What's next: Ohio State advances to the semifinals Saturday to face the winner of Michigan-Illinois. Northwestern hopes that 18-13 will be enough to host an NIT game.