BIG TEN: No. 16 Ohio State 63, Northwestern 53
Lenzelle Smith scored a season-high 24 points, Deshaun Thomas added 19 and visiting Ohio State used a late run to beat Northwestern.
The Buckeyes (21-7, 11-5) moved one-half game ahead of Michigan and took sole possession of fourth place in the Big Ten with another difficult win over a team that’s given it fits in recent years.
This time, they led by 11 points early in the second half and regrouped after Northwestern took the lead, sending the Wildcats (13-16, 4-12) to their sixth consecutive loss and eighth in nine games.
Northwestern led by a point twice in the second half and was up 49-48 with about 4 minutes remaining. But Ohio State outscored the Wildcats 15-4 the rest of the way.
Thomas scored six points during that stretch, and the Buckeyes took advantage of three turnovers to come away with a tight win.
Smith scored 14 points in the first half and had five of Ohio State’s 10 field goals, including four 3-pointers, as the Buckeyes grabbed a seven-point lead. He was 7-of-13 overall and hit 6-of-11 3s in the game.
Ohio State was leading 33-22 early in the second half when Northwestern went on a 12-3 run, with Demps nailing a 3 and scoring on a backdoor layup and hitting two free throws to make it a two-point game with 15:32 remaining.
Northwestern took its first lead of the game midway through the second half when Kale Abrahamson hit a 3 to make it 41-40.
Thomas scored on a tip-in and Smith hit a 3 to make it 45-41, but the Wildcats hung in, tying it at 46 on Alex Olah’s three-point play with 6:24 left.
After Thomas scored on a bank shot, Reggie Hearn buried a 3 for Northwestern, but Smith answered with one to put Ohio State on top 51-49.
Craft then stole the ball from Hearn before hitting a pull-up jumper for his first points of the game.
Smith stripped Tre Demps, but Sam Thompson missed two free throws. Another turnover by Northwestern led to a layup by Thomas and Thomas scored again on a nice spin move with 1:24 left to get the lead back to six.
TOP 25: Virginia 73, No. 3 Duke 68
Joe Harris scored a career-high 36 points and host Virginia celebrated the 11-year anniversary of its last victory over a top-5 team by doing it again. Akil Mitchell added 19 points and 12 rebounds as he and Harris outplayed Duke’s top twosome of Seth Curry and Mason Plumlee, giving Virginia (20-8, 10-5 ACC) its 16th consecutive victory at home. Curry led Duke (24-4, 11-4) with 28 points.
No. 25 Louisiana Tech 84, Utah State 61
Host Louisiana Tech took a 17-4 lead midway through the first half and went on to beat Utah State (19-8, 9-6 WAC). Reserve guard Brandon Gibson led Louisiana Tech (25-3, 15-0) with 20 points.