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March 1, 2006
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EVANSTON, Ill.? Terence Dials scored 18 points and Ron Lewis drove for a layup in the closing seconds to lift No. 9 Ohio State to a 56-53 victory over Northwestern on Wednesday night that clinched at least a share of the Big Ten championship.
Following a timeout with 30 seconds left, Lewis recovered a loose ball after teammate Jamar Butler lost his dribble. He eventually drove along the left side for a layup that made it 54-53 with 7 seconds left.
Northwestern's Sterling Williams missed on a driving layup, and Lewis missed the front end of a 1-and-1 with 1.5 seconds left. The Wildcats grabbed the rebound and called time out, but a long inbounds pass from Tim Doyle to Vedran Vukusic sailed wide and out of bounds along the sideline. Ohio State's Je'Kel Foster hit two free throws with one-tenth of a second left.
Dials was 9-of-12 from the field, grabbed seven rebounds and had two steals as the Buckeyes won their fourth straight and clinched a share of their first league title since 2002. Foster added 10 points and six rebounds.
Vukusic scored 13 points and Mohamed Hachad added 11 points and 10 rebounds for Northwestern (13-14, 5-10), which closes the regular season at home Saturday against Minnesota.
Seeking its first win over a Top Ten team in 12 years, Northwestern took a 49-48 lead when Williams hit a 3-pointer from the corner with 5:25 left. Butler immediately answered with a basket, but the Wildcats kept coming.
Craig Moore hit a 3-pointer from the corner to tie it at 52 with 3:43 left, and Evan Seacat made one free throw to give Northwestern a one-point lead with 2:54 left. It remained a one-point game until the go-ahead sequence.
That happened after Seacat stepped out of bounds along the sideline with 54 seconds remaining. Dials rebounded a missed 3-pointer by Lewis, and Ohio State called the timeout with 30 seconds to play.For more coverage of the Northwestern Wildcats, check out WildcatReport.com.
For more coverage of the Ohio State Buckeyes, check out BuckeyeSportsBulletin.com.