Game of the Night: Ohio State Buckeyes 65 , Northwestern Wildcats 56
The Ohio State Buckeyes may be the hottest team in the Big Ten, and that didn't change Wednesday night as they handed the Northwestern Wildcats their second consecutive home loss 65-56. The Buckeyes got after the Wildcats on the defensive end, holding Northwestern to just 31% shooting and 24% from deep.
The key to the Buckeyes stifling defense was holding Northwestern's two leading scorers, Bryant McIntosh and Tre Demps, to a combined 8-32 shooting from the field. Ohio State also forced McIntosh to commit 5 turnovers, doubling his season average. Meanwhile, the Buckeyes found offense from a surprise source with sophomore Kam Williams scoring 21 points, including 13 in the second half.
Despite struggling mightily from the field, the Wildcats ended the first half on an 8-0 run, taking a 27-26 lead in to the break. Chris Collins had to be pleased with his team fighting back and taking the lead by despite their poor performance as they played their 4th straight game without senior center Alex Olah due to a foot injury.
The second half continued to be a defensive battled as the teams found themselves knotted at 44 with a little over 8 minutes to go. With his team down 4, Aaron Falzon hit a 3 to pull Northwestern within a point 51-50 with 6 minutes remaining. Ohio State, however, responded with a 6-0 run and never looked back. The Wildcats would score just 6 points in the final 6 minutes as Ohio State ramped up their defense to win their seventh straight game.
Along with their outstanding defense, credit Thad Matta's squad with good ball movement as the team posted 18 assists, 5 more than their season average. Along with Williams' team high 21 points off the bench, including 5-9 from deep, Trevor Thompson got his 3rd double-double of the season with 12 points and 10 rebounds. While he shot just 1-7, freshman point guard JaQuan Lyle posted 7 points, 7 asssists, and 5 rebounds.
Both teams will continue conference play on the road as the Buckeyes visit Indiana Sunday, while the Wildcats play Minnesota on Saturday.
After a scare in their Big Ten home opener against Penn State, the Maryland Terrapins left no doubt Wednesday night when they faced an overmatched Rutgers squad. The Terrapins opened the game up in the first half with balanced scoring and unbelievable rebounding. Maryland out-rebounded the Scarlet Knights 31-12 in the first half including 12 offensive rebounds to just one for Rutgers.
Any time you have as many turnovers as made shots your going to struggle and that's just what Rutgers did in the first half. While Maryland pounded the glass and opened a double digit lead early on, Rutgers couldn't get anything to fall as they shot 6 of 25 from the field in the opening half. This allowed the Terrapins to open up a 46-18 lead at half.
Maryland's starters shot 22-39 and posted 64 points, with Melo Trimble the only Terrapin starter not in double figures (he sat out the second half with tightness in his hamstring). Jake Layman finally got his offense going as he nearly matched his season high with 18 points including 3 three pointers. Diamond Stone continued his strong start to conference play with 15 points and 10 rebounds (4 offensive). Rasheed Suilamon also poured in 15 for Maryland along with 5 rebounds. Senior Bishop Daniels finished with a double-double for Rutgers with 11 points, 10 rebounds, and 4 assists.
Overall, this game was a perfect example of where both these programs are and the huge gap between the top of the Big Ten and the bottom. While Maryland moves to 3-0 and continues to sit on top of the Big Ten, Rutgers falls to 0-3 in the conference and just 6-10 on the season. Both teams are back in action Saturday with the Terrapins traveling to Madison to face the Badgers while Rutgers will host Nebraska.