Northwestern finds no luck against this year’s Big Ten upstart

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ROSEMONT, IL - JANUARY 17: Northwestern Wildcats center Dererk Pardon (5) battles with Ohio State Buckeyes forward Keita Bates-Diop (33) during the BIG Ten college basketball game between the Northwestern Wildcats and the Ohio State Buckeyes on January 17, 2018 at the Allstate Arena in Rosemont, Illinois. (Photo by Robin Alam/Icon Sportswire)

ROSEMONT – It’s pretty safe to say that Chris Collins knew the feeling of the man on the opposite sideline at Allstate Arena on Wednesday evening.

Last year, it was his Wildcats that were the toast of College Baskeball and the Big Ten conference for their bit surprising and rather exciting run to their first NCAA Tournament. The entire season was one of breaking ground not only in his tenure but the Northwestern program as well.

While perhaps not as far-reaching in program history as the Wildcats, what Chris Holtmann is doing at Ohio State has certainly turned heads. It what looked like a rebuilding campaign under a first year head coach, the Buckeyes find themselves atop the Big Ten with an undefeated record.

On Wednesday, last year’s Cinderella team became the latest victim of the one playing that role this year.

Controlling the pace through much of the contest, Ohio State built as much as a 14-point lead in the second half before withstanding a late Northwestern run to win it 71-65 to improve to 7-0  in the conference. Meanwhile the Wildcats’ struggles in the conference continue as they fall to 3-4 in the Big Ten.

Micah Potter led Ohio State with 13 points off the bench and his three-pointer with 10:30 left in the second half put the Buckeyes up 14. Northwestern made a run after that, getting the lead all the way down to four on a Scottie Lindsey (13 points) bucket with 45 seconds left.

But the Buckeyes sealed the win with free throws down the stretch to drop the Wildcats to 11-9 overall. They’ll need quite a run for the rest of the Big Ten season if they hope to make it back to the NCAA Tournament once again.

While there is certainly time to do saw, it appears another team has grabbed their Cinderella status for this season.

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