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Ohio St. Outlasts Wildcats

Ohio State's E.J. Liddell drives against Northwestern's Pete Nance during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game Wednesday, Jan. 13, 2021, in Columbus, Ohio. (AP Photo/Jay LaPrete)

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — Ohio State was not going to let Northwestern come from behind again.

Duane Washington Jr. scored a career-high 23 points to lead No. 21 Ohio State to an 81-71 win over Northwestern on Wednesday night.

The Buckeyes (10-3, 4-3) avenged a one-point loss to the Wildcats on Dec. 26.

Justin Ahrens added 12 points, hitting four 3-pointers, including a timely one late in the second half to help preserve the Buckeyes lead.

“We lost a tough one up there, and what we learned is we had to play smarter and harder in the last four minutes of the game,” Ahrens said. “We did that tonight with a good result.”

Chase Audige kept Northwestern (6-5, 3-4) in the game, scoring 21 of his career-best 25 points in the first half. Audige, who was averaging 11.7 points per game, cooled off in the second half, just as Miller Kopp was heating up. He had 16 points in the second half to get Northwestern within one late in the second half.

Ohio State then went on a 12-0 run to secure the win.

“This is the most proud I have been of our team the entire year–to respond the way we did,” Ohio State coach Chris Holtmann said.

“We had to be tough and smart down the stretch. The game was never out of reach. It was always within two or three possessions…Our guys responded with great poise down the stretch. That’s why I am so proud of them.”

Kyle Young added 12, including a key three-point play with just over two minutes left in the game, and Justice Sueing added 13.

“Giving up 81 is not gonna cut it in the Big Ten,” Northwestern coach Chris Collins said. “We’ve got to do a better job to slow these teams down.”

Freshman Meechie Johnson Jr., who left high school earlier this year to bolster the Buckeye bench, scored his first-ever basket, a 3-pointer on his first career shot. Johnson ended up with 6

The Buckeye victory was all the more impressive considering the limited scoring from E.J. Liddell, who missed all six of his shots from the field. He was 6-for-8 from the free throw line.

BIG PICTURE

Duane Washington Jr. continued with the hot hand, and a shootout between two shooting guards went Ohio State’s way. Northwestern hung tough but it was not enough to overcome a balanced Buckeye effort.

UP NEXT

Ohio State visits Illinois Saturday, with tip-off at noon.

Northwestern hosts Iowa Monday at 6 p.m.

NO. 18 VIRGINIA 80, NOTRE DAME 68

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (AP) — Jay Huff scored 18 points and Sam Hauser had 15 points and nine rebounds as No. 18 Virginia beat Notre Dame for its fourth consecutive victory.

Huff, who is 7-foot-1, made a career-best four 3-pointers in the first half as Virginia (8-2, 4-0 Atlantic Coast Conference) opened an 18-10 lead and built it to 37-25 by halftime.

All four of Huff’s 3-pointer came from the top of the key.

“I would probably say that around that area, that’s my favorite spot,” Huff said. “I took a bunch of those back in my high school days. … Plus that’s kind of where they show up in the offense that we’re running.”

Huff also made a fierce drive for a basket after Notre Dame pulled within 66-56.

“That’s kind of always going through our minds when teams go on a run,” he said of the mindset to stop the run.

Cormac Ryan scored 16 and Trey Wertz 13 for the Fighting Irish (3-8, 0-5), who lost their fourth in a row and fell to 0-11 against Virginia in conference games. Nate Laszewski, who burned Virginia for 28 points in their first meeting, finished with 12.

Huff hit a pair of 3-pointers in the first 8 1/2 minutes as Virginia took control right away and never let up. The Irish trailed 55-33 with 13 minutes left and used a 15-5 run to get within 66-56 with 5:41 to play, but Huff scored inside and Casey Morsell hit a 3-pointer.

“They made big jump shots in the first 10 minutes and we made none of our open ones and the game was kind of over after that,” Notre Dame coach Mike Brey said.

Morsell, who had only practiced twice after missing 10 days because of contact tracing, added 15 points and made all three of his 3-point tries.

“Coming off of a 10-day quarantine, that’s really impressive to have the game that he did,” Huff said. “… My guess is that he really missed being able to get out of his room.”

NO. 16 LOUISVILLE 77, WAKE FOREST 65

WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. (AP) — Carlik Jones scored a season-high 23 points to help No. 16 Louisville beat Wake Forest, extending the Cardinals’ best start in Atlantic Coast Conference play.

Samuell Williamson added 15 points and 11 rebounds for the Cardinals (9-1, 4-0 ACC), who blew nearly all of a 16-point second-half lead before finally putting this one away in the final 6 minutes as the Demon Deacons went cold.

Louisville shot 51% for the game to reach 4-0 in the league, marking the program’s best since joining the ACC before the 2014-15 season. It marked the best start in any league since for the Cardinals since winning their first eight Big East games during the 2008-09 season.

Daivien Williamson scored 19 points for the Demon Deacons (3-4, 0-4), who looked on the way to a blowout loss when Louisville scored twice off consecutive turnovers to take a 50-34 lead and force a timeout just 90 seconds after halftime. They clawed back to within a point midway through the second half, only to go 9 1/2 minutes without a basket to squander a shot at an upset.

Wake Forest shot just 9 of 29 (31%) after halftime, including 2 of 14 from behind the 3-point arc.

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