No. 11 Ohio St. 59, Northwestern 49
COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) _ Reserve Neshaun Coleman scored a season-high 16 points and Scoonie Penn had 19 and spurred two second-half surges as 11th-ranked Ohio State outmuscled Northwestern 59-49 Saturday.
Northwestern center Evan Eschmeyer, averaging 20.2 points and 11 rebounds a game, was crowded by defenders all day and finished with a season-low 10 points before fouling out in the final minute.
The victory was the sixth in a row and the eighth in nine games for the Buckeyes (21-6, 11-3 Big Ten), who maintained sole possession of second place in the conference.
Penn hit 8-of-9 shots from the field including all 3-pointers and both free throws.
Northwestern (14-10, 6-8 Big Ten) led 23-22 at the half, scoring the final six points on a pair of 3-pointers by freshman Steve Lepore.
The Wildcats, who lost their fourth game in a row, built their lead to 28-24 before Penn led a 9-0 run.
Coleman, a frequently forgotten senior, came off the bench and missed four of his first five shots. But he made up for it when the Buckeyes needed him most, hitting five of his next eight shots.
Coleman had totaled 14 points in Ohio State’s last three games.
Julian Bonner led the Wildcats with 14 points, while Lepore had 12 _ on 4-of-7 3-point shooting.
Eschmeyer was limited to five shots from the field, hitting three to go with 4-of-7 free throws and eight rebounds.
Jason Singleton, five inches shorter, had primary responsibility guarding Eschmeyer for most of the second half after Ohio State center Ken Johnson picked up his fourth foul early.
It was a bruising game, with players from both sides frequently knocked to the floor or bounced between defenders as they tried to put up shots. Two players fouled out and three others had four fouls at the finish.