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Oden leads Ohio State to sweep of Northwestern

Jan 25, 2007 - 6:34 AM EVANSTON, Illinois (Ticker) -- Greg Oden had a much better performance the second time around against Northwestern and Ohio State definitely needed it.

Oden recorded a double-double with 17 points and 17 rebounds and gave the fifth-ranked Buckeyes some breathing room in the second half of a close game as Ohio State posted a 59-50 Big Ten Conference victory over Northwestern.

Arguably the top freshman in the country, Oden managed just five points in a 73-41 rout of the Wildcats last Wednesday. Coming off a 29-point, 10-rebound performance against Iowa on Saturday, Oden continued his strong play in the rematch with Northwestern.

"He had a lot of rebounds throughout the game," Northwestern coach Bill Carmody said. "It just seemed like he took over in there, getting rebound after rebound. And he (got) so deep. He hurt us more offensively than defensively this evening."

Running its deliberate offense and milking the clock when it could, Northwestern managed to stay close throughout and was within 39-38 with just under 11 minutes to play after a bucket by Tim Doyle.

Oden responded with four straight points to build the advantage back to 43-38 and Ohio State (17-3, 5-1 Big Ten) held on from there.

Oden, who finished 6-of-7 from the field, scored 10 points over the final 10:19 and his 17 points were a season high and helped the Buckeyes control the boards and outrebound the Wildcats, 39-19.

Ivan Harris had 18 points and seven boards for the Buckeyes. He had 14 of his points in the first half and added a key basket late off an offensive rebound to give Ohio State a 55-48 lead with 2:02 to play.

"Ivan did a great job and he opened things up for everybody," Oden said. "When Ivan plays like he did tonight that just opens it up for me to come in and get rebounds."

Doyle had 15 points and Sterling Williams added 11 for Northwestern (11-9, 1-6).

"Greg Oden and Ivan Harris in there had big put-backs," Carmody said. "I feel better than seven days ago, but we've played three Big Ten teams at home now, Wisconsin, Michigan and now Ohio State, some pretty good teams. It seems like every game's been the same. It gets to the last two or three minutes and you're right there and you just can't seem to turn it."