David Banks-US PRESSWIRE
Lenzelle Smith Jr. and Ohio State pulled away late to hold off Northwestern, mirroring the game played between the two teams earlier in February.
Lenzelle Smith Jr. scored 24 points, including a go-ahead three-pointer late in the second half, to lift the No. 16 Ohio State Buckeyes to a 63-53 victory over the Northwestern Wildcats on Thursday night at Welsh-Ryan Arena in Evanston, Ill.
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The Buckeyes weathered a rally from Northwestern that erased an 11-point second-half deficit, culminating with Reggie Hearn's three-pointer at the 4:04 mark to put the Wildcats up, 49-48. Smith answered back as he did earlier in the half when Northwestern was closing in, allowing Ohio State to escape with another close win over the Wildcats. The Buckeyes were tied with Northwestern with three minutes remaining in their Feb. 14 meeting, but eventually pulled away for a 10-point victory.
Deshaun Thomas added 21 points for Ohio State (21-7, 11-5 Big Ten), while Tre Demps led Northwestern (13-16, 4-12 Big Ten) with 14 points off the bench.
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