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Northwestern puts in competitive effort in 63-53 loss to Ohio State

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Updated: February 28, 2013 11:41PM



Northwestern struggled to score for 3½ games, then during a stretch in the second half Thursday against No. 16 Ohio State, it couldn’t miss.

The Wildcats needed a competitive effort after losing their last three games by a combined 80 points, and they managed that, at least, in a 63-53 loss against the Buckeyes at Welsh-Ryan Arena.

Given the downward spiral Northwestern (13-16, 4-12 Big Ten) has been in since Jared Swopshire became the latest player lost for the season with an injury, a loss to Ohio State (21-7, 11-5) in a game that was closer than the score indicated was a step forward.

“We haven’t been playing competitive basketball, so it was certainly time,” Northwestern coach Bill Carmody said. “The effort is there. The guys are trying. They’ll get better. It was good to see.”

Northwestern only made three two-point field goals in the first half but had enough three-pointers and free throws to only trail by seven at the break. The Wildcats opened the second half 7-for-9 from the field and eventually led 49-48 when Reggie Hearn buried a three-pointer with 4:05 left. Lenzelle Smith Jr. responded with his sixth three-pointer, and three consecutive NU turnovers propelled the Buckeyes from there.

Tre Demps led Northwestern with 14 points, and Dave Sobolewski scored 13.

“It was a lot of fun to play in a competitive game, but that’s not what we play for,” Sobolewski said. “We come into every game trying to win, and we didn’t do that tonight. We played a lot better than we have been, which was nice, but we didn’t win.”

Freshman Kale Abrahamson has looked lost for much of the season, but he came alive in the second half, providing energy and burying a fall-away three-pointer as the shot clock sounded. He had nine points and nine rebounds, and fellow freshman Alex Olah scored nine points and grabbed five rebounds.

Smith had 24 points and six rebounds for Ohio State. Deshaun Thomas added 19 points and seven rebounds.



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