OSU connected on its first seven shots from the field and surged out to a 17-3 lead, and I think that it was over for the Wildcats at that point. The Buckeyes kept going and pushed their lead as high as 25 points in the first half, but you knew that sort of momentum was going to be tough to maintain.
Sure enough, Northwestern made some shots in the second half and the Buckeyes looked lax at times. But the end result was a crucial win should OSU want to have any hopes of climbing back into the Big Ten title race.
After starting 1-3 in the conference, OSU has now won three straight. This win came against a charging Northwestern team that had won two of three in the Big Ten and entered the game with lots to prove.
The Wildcats were served notice early on that they had no business contending in this game, and the Buckeyes get kudos for that.
Take the win and move on.
I think … that with that being said, the play of Jeremie Simmons in Big Ten play has to be an ongoing concern for Matta.
There's been an all-points-bulletin out for his offensive game since he put up 11 points against Butler. Since then, he has only scored as many as eight points in two games. Against the Wildcats, he missed one shot so badly that it hit the side of the backboard.
I tried to watch him at the other end of the court after a missed shot, and I think his confidence is truly lacking. There's no fire in his eyes and he's lost on offense.
The potential is there. We saw it in the non-conference schedule. Now Matta needs to find some way to get Simmons' stroke back, because that could go a long way toward giving this team a spark down the stretch.
I think … that I'm starting to buy into William Buford becoming a more complete player. The sophomore has taken plenty of questionable shots throughout the season, but his desire to attack the glass and get his teammates involved has definitely improved in the past week.
Early in the game, Buford was the only starter to not have scored – but he had two helpers. I like the way he's played the last game and a half. Now let's see if he can carry it over.
Plus, those one-handed dunks sure are fun to watch.
I think … that Evan Turner's contributions to the victory were even greater than the stat line he put together. The junior had 20 points, 13 boards and eight assists but he was a key component of the reason why Northwestern could not stop the Buckeyes.
Turner's size helped allow him to see over Northwestern's 1-3-1 zone and enabled him to make passes that were not picked off. That helped OSU's overall offensive attack and kept his teammates involved in the game.
He didn't always get assists for his key plays in this category, but they were important nonetheless. Both coaches commented on this after the game.