EVANSTON, Ill. – Lenzelle Smith Jr. made his mark right from the start and Deshaun Thomas came up big down the stretch for Ohio State. Good thing for the Buckeyes, because they needed all of it.
Smith scored a season-high 24 points, Thomas added 19 and No. 16 Ohio State used a late run to beat Northwestern 63-53 on Thursday night.
The Buckeyes (21-7, 11-5 Big Ten) moved one-half game ahead of Michigan and took sole possession of fourth place in the Big Ten.
Ohio State 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 straight loss and eighth in nine games.
I give them tremendous credit, with all the injuries they’ve faced, Ohio State coach Thad Matta said. They’ve kind of been knocked down a couple times.
Northwestern led by a point twice in the second half and was up 49-48 with about 4 minutes remaining after a three-pointer by Reggie Hearn. 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 straight turnovers to come away with a tight win.
SOUTH DAKOTA 87, IUPUI 69: In Indianapolis, Trevor Gruis scored 26 points to lead the Coyotes. South Dakota (10-18, 5-10 Summit) also had three other players score in double figures.
MIAMI 69, No. 5 DUKE 65: In Coral Gables, Fla., Stefanie Yderstrom and Pepper Wilson each scored 16 points, and Krystal Saunders added 15 to lead the Hurricanes (19-9, 10-7 Atlantic Coast Conference).
No. 8 TENNESSEE 82, No. 13 TEXAS A&M 72: In Knoxville, Tenn., Kamiko Williams scored a career-high 18 points in the final home game of her career as the Vols (23-5, 14-1) clinched their 17th Southeastern Conference regular-season title.
No. 10 KENTUCKY 90, MISSISSIPPI 65: In Oxford, Miss., A’Dia Mathies scored 20 points as the Wildcats (24-4, 12-3 SEC) won.
No. 15 NORTH CAROLINA 85, BOSTON COLLEGE 57: In Chapel Hill, N.C., Waltiea Rolle scored 21 points and Tierra Ruffin-Pratt added 20 to lead the Tar Heels.
No. 18 DELAWARE 79, HOFSTRA 50: In Hempstead, N.Y., Elena Delle Donne scored 32 points as the Blue Hens (25-3, 16-0 Colonial Athletic Association) win their 20th in a row.
No. 21 GREEN BAY 71, DETROIT 63: In Detroit, Megan Lukan scored 20 points as the Phoenix (23-2, 13-0) won their 18th in a row to clinch the Horizon League regular-season title.
No. 24 FLORIDA STATE 72, No. 9 MARYLAND 71: In Tallahassee, Fla., Alexa Deluzio hit a second-chance free throw with 7 seconds left to lift the Seminoles. Deluzio had just missed a pair but got a chance to win it after Maryland was whistled for a lane violation on her second free throw.
MICHIGAN STATE 68, No. 25 PURDUE 61: In West Lafayette, Annalise Pickrel scored 18 points and Jasmine Thomas and Klarissa Bell scored 17 apiece to lead the Spartans.
WESTERN ILLINOIS 73, IPFW 54: In Macomb, Ill., Stefanie Mauk had 16 points but the Mastodons fell. Amanda Hyde added 12 points for IPFW (12-15, 8-7 Summit League).
BALL STATE 67, CENTRAL MICHIGAN 63: In Mount Pleasant, Mich., Brandy Woody had 17 points to lead the Cardinals (14-13, 11-3 in the Mid-American Conference).
IOWA 75, INDIANA 70: In Iowa City, Aulani Sinclair had 31 points in the Hoosiers’ loss.