EVANSTON, Ill. (AP) — With Kaleb Wesson out serving a suspension, Dererk Pardon took full advantage.
Pardon had 20 points and 13 rebounds as Northwestern snapped a 10-game losing streak with a 68-50 win over Ohio State on Wednesday night.
Vic Law and A.J. Turner had 10 points apiece and Pardon was 8 for 10 from the field as the Wildcats (13-17, 4-15 Big Ten) won for the first time since beating Indiana 73-66 on Jan. 22.
"We know we got a break tonight not having Kaleb Wesson in the game, but sometimes that happens," Northwestern coach Chris Collins said. "They're a different team without him there."
Keyshawn Woods had 15 points and seven rebounds for Ohio State (18-12, 8-11), which lost its second straight without Wesson. The Buckeyes have dropped five of seven.
Wesson was suspended indefinitely by Ohio State last week for an unspecified violation of athletic department policy. The 6-foot-9 sophomore center leads the team in scoring (14.6 points) and rebounding (6.7). He had 22 points and eight rebounds in the Buckeyes' 63-49 win over Northwestern on Feb. 20.
"It was especially important with Kaleb Wesson not playing to throw the ball into Dererk and have him be aggressive," Law said. "He's such a big part of their team and to have him suddenly taken away is hard."
Ohio State was blown out 86-51 by Purdue on Saturday in the first game of the Wesson suspension. Things weren't any better at the start of this one.
The Buckeyes missed their first 14 field-goal attempts on Wednesday before C.J. Jackson scored on a driving layup with 11:09 left in the first half. Still, they trailed only 12-4 at that point.
Northwestern wasn't lighting up the scoreboard either — 11 of 28 (39.3 percent) from the field — but took a 28-17 halftime lead. Ohio State was 4 of 27 (14.8 percent) from the field in the first half and the 17 points was a season low.
Ohio State played much better on offense in the second half and trimmed the deficit to 47-42 with just less than nine minutes left. Northwestern, though, answered with 10 straight points for a commanding 57-42 advantage — its largest to that point — with six minutes to go.
Pardon capped the run with a 3-point play on a dunk. He had 18 second-half points on 7-for-7 shooting.
"We just had no answer for him," Buckeyes coach Chris Holtmann said of Pardon.
Ohio State: The school has said that Wesson will return this season, although no specific date was given. There's been speculation that he'll miss one more game before returning for the start of the Big Ten tournament next week in Chicago. After being ranked in the Top 25 earlier in the season, the Buckeyes' surefire NCAA tournament bid may be in doubt.
Northwestern: The Wildcats can finally exhale after snapping the extended losing streak. They remain in last place in the Big Ten and will need a win in the final regular-season game and an extended run in the conference tournament just to get back to .500. "I tell them all the time, 'Until you're told you don't have any more games, you get ready to play and you compete to win,'" Collins said.
Pardon was asked what stood out to him on the stat sheet, and the 6-foot-8 senior looked past his impressive double-double:
"For me, that we held them to 50 points. That's something that we always pride ourselves on, playing defense, so I felt like we got stops when we needed to when they turned up the heat a little bit."
Ohio State: Hosts No. 21 Wisconsin on Sunday in regular-season finale.
Northwestern: Hosts No. 11 Purdue on Saturday in regular-season finale.
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