Ohio State escapes upset
COLUMBUS, Ohio -- Deshaun Thomas scored 22 points and No. 13 Ohio State used a late 12-0 run to beat Northwestern 69-59 on Thursday night, the Buckeyes' 32nd consecutive home win against the Wildcats.
Lenzelle Smith Jr. added 12 points -- all in the first half -- with Sam Thompson getting 11 and Amir Williams had a career-high 10 for the Buckeyes (18-6, 8-4 Big Ten).
Pesky Northwestern (13-12, 4-8) led throughout the second half despite having only seven scholarship players due to injuries.
Tre Demps led the Wildcats with 16 points, Reggie Hearn had 12 and Dave Sobolewski 10.
No one would have been surprised to see the Buckeyes blow out the Wildcats. They held a 111-45 upper hand all-time against Northwestern, including 65-14 in home games.
The last time a Northwestern team had won in Columbus was Feb. 24, 1977 -- when the original Star Wars was up for best picture and the Cincinnati Reds reigned as World Series champs.
Also, the Wildcats were wounded. They recently lost starter Jared Swopshire, who underwent arthroscopic surgery on his right knee after being hurt Feb. 9 at Iowa. Drew Crawford, who is on the cover of the media guide after averaging 16.1 points a game last season, has missed the entire season with a shoulder injury. Also sidelined are Sanjay Lumpkin (wrist), 7-foot-2 Chier Ajou (knee) and 7-0 Alex Olah (upper body).
Only seven scholarship players were available to coach Bill Carmody due to the injuries and another player lost to a disciplinary problem.
But the Wildcats led by four points for several minutes down the stretch. They led 54-52 on a three-point play by Kale Abrahamson, who had driven the left baseline and then tossed in the layup while being fouled with 5:15 left.
Ohio State countered with Thomas, who had struggled with his shot and with sticky defensive coverage all night, getting fouled after he muscled in a bucket. His three-point play put the Buckeyes ahead 55-54. The lead grew to three moments later when, after a Northwestern miss, Thompson scored on a layup.
But Demps, who was 4 of 6 behind the arc, drilled one from the right wing to tie it again with 3:24 remaining as an uneasy crowd of 15,842 at Value City Arena took a break.
And the Buckeyes took over.
Thomas scored in traffic and drew the fifth foul on Abrahamson with 3:03 left.
Hearn drove from the left side and his shot, which could have tied it, instead sat on the back of the iron for a full two seconds before finally falling.
Aaron Craft, who had seven points, three rebounds and six assists, then drove through the heart of the Northwestern zone and, shifting hands in mid-air, flipped in a left-handed layup to push the lead to 61-57 with 1:52 remaining.
Now the Wildcats, who had frustrated Ohio State's offense all night, could not find the range. After another miss, Thomas was fouled -- Mike Turner's fifth -- and banged in both free throws. Thomas then added baskets in the final minute before Thomas made two more foul shots to complete the 12-point assault.
NO. 12 LOUISVILLE 72, ST. JOHN'S 58: Russ Smith scored 21 second-half points, including 12 straight over a 3:03 stretch that put No. 12 Louisville ahead for good and helped the Cardinals beat St. John's 72-58 on Thursday night.
In a game of spurts for both teams -- who traded the lead five times -- Smith led the last and crucial one for Louisville. The junior guard's dozen points led the Cardinals' 14-5 run for a 46-38 lead.
Smith finished with 24 points for Louisville, which dominated the paint 32-16 and outrebounded St. John's 45-37.
Peyton Siva added 12 points, Chane Behanan 10 and Gorgui Dieng 10 with a career-high 17 rebounds as the Cardinals (20-5, 8-4) bounced back from Saturday's five-overtime loss at Notre Dame to climb into a three-way tie for second place in the Big East Conference.
Phil Greene IV scored 21 points for St. John's (15-10, 7-6), losers of three of four.
MINNESOTA 58, NO. 20 WISCONSIN 53, OT: Andre Hollins hit the go-ahead 3-pointer midway through overtime to finish with 21 points and lead Minnesota to a 58-53 victory over No. 20 Wisconsin on Thursday night.
It was third straight game Wisconsin went to overtime.
Austin Hollins added 11 points for the Gophers (18-7, 6-6 Big Ten), who held the Badgers without a basket for about 11 minutes until Jared Berggren's putback with 10 seconds left in the extra period. Hollins went 4 for 4 from the free throw line over the final 18 seconds of overtime to seal it.
Sam Dekker scored 14 points and Ben Brust added 11 for the Badgers (17-8, 8-4). They were 7 for 28 from 3-point range, negating their 18 offensive rebounds, and scored a total of four points over the last 10-plus minutes of the game.