Jared Sullinger got the last laugh in a matchup of two of the Big Ten’s finest.
After trading blows with the conference’s leading scorer, John Shurna, Sullinger hit a hook shot with 3.1 seconds left to give Ohio State a 75-73 win at Northwestern.
The Buckeyes squandered a 12-point lead with less than six minutes to play, but Sullinger’s basket – coupled with a near-miss on Shurna’s last-gasp three-point attempt from just inside halfcourt – sealed the win.
Shurna, who averages better than 20 points per game, finished with 22 points, but wasn’t his normal, efficient performance: He was just 7 of 19 from the floor despite shooting better than 47 percent on the season.
Sullinger, meanwhile, was dominant from start to finish. In the face of increasing chatter that his play has been slipping, Sullinger came through with a team-high 22 points to go with a season-high 18 boards, 11 of which came on offense. He also hit 6 of 8 free throws and chipped in three assists and a pair of blocks.
On the day, Ohio State (24-6, 12-5) outrebounded Northwestern 44 to 18. Or, put differently, Sullinger had as many boards as Northwestern (17-12, 7-10).
Next up for OSU is the season finale at Michigan State. A win would even the season series and give the Buckeyes a tie for first place in the Big Ten.