Ohio State pulls away early, beats Northwestern 73-57


Ohio State guard Sean McNeil (4) dribbles the ball against Northwestern guard Julian Roper II during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game in Evanston, Ill., Sunday, Jan. 1, 2023. (AP Photo/Matt Marton)

Ohio State guard Sean McNeil (4) dribbles the ball against Northwestern guard Julian Roper II during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game in Evanston, Ill., Sunday, Jan. 1, 2023. (AP Photo/Matt Marton)


Ohio State forward Justice Sueing shoots against Northwestern center Matthew Nicholson during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game in Evanston, Ill., Sunday, Jan. 1, 2023. (AP Photo/Matt Marton)


Ohio State guard Eugene Brown III dunks the ball against Northwestern center Matthew Nicholson (34) during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game in Evanston, Ill., Sunday, Jan. 1, 2023. (AP Photo/Matt Marton)


EVANSTON, Ill. (AP) — Sean McNeil and Justice Sueing each scored 11 first-half points, Brice Sensabaugh added 16 of his 18 points after halftime and Ohio State led by double figures for nearly-33 minutes as the Buckeyes beat Northwestern 73-57 Sunday night.

McNeil made three 3-pointers and finished with 15 points and Sueing had 13 points, six rebounds and five assists. Zed Key added 11 points, 11 rebounds, two steals and two blocks for Ohio State (10-3, 2-0 Big Ten).

Northwestern (10-3, 1-1) went into the game ranked No. 7 nationally in scoring defense, allowing just 55.7 points per game, and No. 3 in opponents field-goal percentage (35.1%) but it was the Buckeyes defense that was smothering on Sunday.

The Wildcats missed their first six shots before Boo Buie hit a 3-pointer to make it 4-3 but Ohio State ripped off the next 10 points before Buie made another 3 to trim Northwestern’s deficit to 14-6 with 13:01 left in the first half. McNeil hit a jumper 13 seconds later that pushed the lead into double figures for good and sparked a 20-2 spurt that gave the Buckeyes a 34-8 lead when Sueing made two free throws with 4:31 to go before halftime.

Northwestern, which made just three of its first 27 field-goal attempts before hitting 4 of 6 to close the first half, was 0-for-8 shooting to start the second half and Key threw down a two-hand dunk with 15:31 to play that gave Ohio State its biggest lead at 46-18.

Chase Audige led the Wildcats with 16 points, Ty Berry scored 11 and Buie added 10. Matthew Nicholson, who was scoreless on 0-for-7 shooting in 21 minutes, grabbed 13 rebounds and blocked two shots.

UP NEXT

Ohio State returns home for a game Thursday against No. 1 Purdue

Northwestern wraps up a six-game home stand Wednesday against Illinois

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Ohio State guard Sean McNeil (4) dribbles the ball against Northwestern guard Julian Roper II during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game in Evanston, Ill., Sunday, Jan. 1, 2023. (AP Photo/Matt Marton)
https://www.wnewsj.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/22/2023/01/web1_130445712-eec021ff5bbd4845bc0684e70f41829e.jpgOhio State guard Sean McNeil (4) dribbles the ball against Northwestern guard Julian Roper II during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game in Evanston, Ill., Sunday, Jan. 1, 2023. (AP Photo/Matt Marton)

Ohio State forward Justice Sueing shoots against Northwestern center Matthew Nicholson during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game in Evanston, Ill., Sunday, Jan. 1, 2023. (AP Photo/Matt Marton)
https://www.wnewsj.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/22/2023/01/web1_130445712-d39e505ac2814f4296da00b1289a6d89.jpgOhio State forward Justice Sueing shoots against Northwestern center Matthew Nicholson during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game in Evanston, Ill., Sunday, Jan. 1, 2023. (AP Photo/Matt Marton)

Ohio State guard Eugene Brown III dunks the ball against Northwestern center Matthew Nicholson (34) during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game in Evanston, Ill., Sunday, Jan. 1, 2023. (AP Photo/Matt Marton)
https://www.wnewsj.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/22/2023/01/web1_130445712-2ff16e9a9fdf4c558066d1a39e8e5988.jpgOhio State guard Eugene Brown III dunks the ball against Northwestern center Matthew Nicholson (34) during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game in Evanston, Ill., Sunday, Jan. 1, 2023. (AP Photo/Matt Marton)