Junior E.J. Liddell responded to consecutive poor outings by scoring 21 of his career-high 34 points in the first half to lead No. 13 Ohio State to a 95-87 win against visiting Northwestern on Sunday in Columbus.
The Buckeyes (10-3, 4-1 Big Ten) also got 24 points from Malaki Branham. Ohio State has won six of seven.
Ty Berry led Northwestern (8-5, 1-3) with 23 points while Chase Audige and Pete Nance each had 20 for the Wildcats, who lost their third straight.
Liddell against Nebraska and Indiana was a combined 5 of 26 on field goals and 2 of 10 from 3-point range while totaling 21 points.
He scored 17 points in the first five minutes against Northwestern when the Buckeyes took a 19-11 lead. Liddell made his first six shots, including five 3-pointers, setting a career high for triples.
Liddell finished 12 of 20 from the floor, including 5 of 7 on 3-pointers, made all five free throws, and had four assists and five blocks.
Northwestern, down by 15 in the first half, chipped away at the deficit to trail 55-51 early in the second only to see the Buckeyes extend the lead to 80-67 on Liddell's jumper.
Liddell drained another shot for an 84-72 advantage for his 30th point, one more than his previous best against High Point on Nov. 12.
The Wildcats didn't fold and a 3-pointer from Nance made it 91-85 before Liddell sank two free throws.
Ohio State was 26 of 27 from the free-throw line.
Ohio State head coach Chris Holtmann and assistant Ryan Pedon were unavailable while in the health and safety protocol, according to a school statement. Assistant coach Jake Diebler served as acting head coach.
Ohio State plays at No. 23 Wisconsin on Thursday. The Buckeye won the first matchup this season 73-55 in Columbus.
Northwestern is home to Maryland on Wednesday.
--Field Level Media