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Sullinger, No. 10 Ohio State escape NU

Mar 1, 2012 - 7:04 AM Evanston, IL (Sports Network) - Jared Sullinger's layup struck the backboard and fell through for the game-winner with 3.1 seconds remaining, and No. 10 Ohio State escaped Northwestern, 75-73, on Wednesday.

Sullinger had a double-double with 22 points and 18 rebounds for the Buckeyes (24-6, 12-5 Big Ten), who bounced back from a 63-60 loss to Wisconsin on Sunday. Deshaun Thomas contributed 19 points and 10 boards, Aaron Craft added 14 points and Lenzelle Smith Jr. donated 12 in the victory.

Ohio State can claim a share of the Big Ten regular season title with a win over No. 5 Michigan State on Sunday.

Drew Crawford paced all scorers with 23 points for the Wildcats (17-12, 7-10), who fell just short of adding another marquee win to their resume. John Shurna netted 22 in defeat.

Sullinger's heroics were only required because of a furious Northwestern run.

Down 70-58, the Wildcats' Alex Marcotullio began a rally with a three-pointer. After a pair of free-throws by Shurna, a Reggie Hearn layup cut the hosts' deficit to five.

Thomas drained a trey to stop the bleeding for Ohio State, but Northwestern, which entered the game with the most three-point makes in the Big Ten, responded with another from beyond the arc.

NU's JerShon Cobb netted two from the charity stripe with under a minute to play to make it 73-70, and a turnover by Smith Jr. gave the Wildcats a chance to tie.

Northwestern nearly squandered that opportunity when Thomas came down with the rebound after a Hearn miss with 21 ticks remaining, but Cobb immediately stole it and called timeout.

With 7.7 seconds on the clock, Marcotullio finished the run he started, knocking down a trey to tie the game at 73.

The euphoria in Welsh-Ryan Arena was short-lived, however, as Sullinger accepted a long pass from Craft and rose up for the decisive bucket.

"We wanted to see Aaron [Craft] push it," said Ohio State head coach Thad Matta. "He had three reads, and I'm glad he chose option number one, cause that's what it was."

The Buckeyes hit their first six attempts from the floor as they began the game on an 11-2 spurt. On the back of 59.3 percent field goal shooting, Ohio State led 39-29 at halftime.

Game Notes

Ohio State led by as many as 13 in the second half...Northwestern made 13- of-27 three-point attempts for a 48.1 percent mark...The Buckeyes outrebounded the Wildcats 44-18...Northwestern scored 21 points off 16 Ohio State turnovers.