Ohio State did not let a late lead slip away again vs. Northwestern when the No. 21 Buckeyes defeated the visiting Wildcats 81-71 on Wednesday.
After letting a 12-point advantage shrink to 67-66 with 4:21 to play, the Buckeyes (10-3, 4-3 Big Ten) scored 12 unanswered points for a 79-66 lead with 1:05 left to send the Wildcats (6-5, 3-4) to their fourth straight defeat.
Junior guard Duane Washington Jr. scored a career-high 23 points for the Buckeyes. He had 22 vs. Rutgers on Dec. 23.
Holding a one-point lead coming out of a timeout, Justin Ahrens hit his fourth triple to extend the Ohio State lead to 70-66, and the Wildcats were unable to respond as they failed to beat the Buckeyes.
In the first meeting this season on Dec. 26, the Wildcats trailed by seven with seven minutes left before winning 71-70.
Northwestern's Chase Audige had a career-best 25 points Wednesday, bettering the 24 he scored for William Mary in 2019 vs. UNC Wilmington.
Miller Kopp scored 14 of his 16 points in the second half for the Wildcats.
Audige had 21 points in the first half as the Wildcats trailed 42-33.
He got off to a sizzling start, scoring the opening 11 points for the Wildcats and 15 of the first 17 by making 7 of 8 from the floor. In the previous two games, he hit 4-of-18.
He got little support in the first half. Kopp, averaging 13.8 points per game, made two free throws and Boo Buie (10.3) did not score. Audige was the only Northwestern starter to make a field goal through 20 minutes. Buie finished with five points.
Ohio State plays at No. 14 Illinois on Saturday. The Wildcats host fifth-ranked Iowa on Monday, which will be the sixth straight ranked opponent for Northwestern.
--Field Level Media