This wasn’t a pretty game for Buckeye Nation. The Buckeyes went into a tough environment and looked vulnerable. Northwestern took it to them. The Wildcats were more physical and played with more energy. Still, Ohio State did what championship teams do; they found a way to win. They escaped Evanston with a 58-57 victory.
Once again, Jared Sullinger proved to be the difference-maker. The Wildcats did a great job frustrating the freshman; however, Jared was patient and persevered. He finished the game with 21 points. None of his points were bigger than his free throw with 3.5 seconds remaining. He converted the last of two free throws to send the Buckeyes to 22-0.
Now that the game is in the books, some may look at the Buckeyes with a skeptical eye. While they were very impressive against Purdue, they looked average against Northwestern. These things happen. Teams are going to have off nights. The Buckeyes looked flat and Northwestern played their hearts out. I don’t think Ohio State’s struggles tonight take anything away from their current resume—in fact, I think they enhance it.
When you look at the big picture, this experience was good for them. They’ll work on their weaknesses and come back better for it. They know they’re going to receive each team’s best and that is going to make them work even harder. Tests like tonight will only make them more prepared for March.