The momentum Ohio State built over the last week or so suddenly disappeared Sunday afternoon.
The Buckeyes were looking for their third-straight win when they welcomed Northwestern to Value City Arena, but it was the Wildcats who came out on top with a 74-72 victory.
Northwestern hit six straight free throws down the stretch to win the game despite not making a field goal for the final three minutes. The Buckeyes were just 12-for-23 from the free-throw line in the game while the Wildcats were 19-for-24.
Scottie Lindsey led the way for the Wildcats with a game-high 21 points while Bryant McIntosh scored 17. Ohio State put four players in double figures led by Jae'Sean Tate's 14.
With the loss, the Buckeyes fell to 12-8 on the season and 2-5 in the Big Ten. Northwestern improved to 16-4 and 5-2 in the league.
With Northwestern leading 59-58 following a layup by Jae'Sean Tate, Northwestern's Isiah Brown scored four-straight points. Brown picked off a pass from Marc Loving and went coast-to-coast for a layup with 2 minutes, 58 seconds to play to put the Wildcats ahead by five.
Ohio State took a 55-52 lead after C.J. Jackson knocked down a 3-pointer in the corner, but the Wildcats scored the next four to take back a one-point lead. The Buckeyes went scoreless for 3:41 after Jackson's 3-pointer.
Northwestern's 9-0 run at the end of the first half allowed the Wildcats to take a 36-31 lead into the locker room. Ohio State shot 52 percent from the field, but eight first-half turnovers led to 10 points for Northwestern and allowed the Wildcats to overcome the hot shooting from the Buckeyes.
After a driving layup by Williams gave Ohio State a 28-27 lead with 3:57 remaining in the first half, Northwestern rattled off the next nine points — five of which came from Scottie Lindsey — and a jumper by Gavin Skelly gave the Wildcats their largest first-half lead at 36-28 with 52 seconds to play. Lyle hit a 3-pointer with 34 seconds remaining to trim Ohio State's halftime deficit to five.
Williams led the way for the Buckeyes in the first half with 10 points while Trevor Thompson and Jae'Sean Tate each scored six. Lindsey scored 10 in the first half for Northwestern while Bryant McIntosh added nine. The Wildcats shot just 42 percent from the floor and were only 3-for-13 from behind the 3-point line in the opening 20 minutes, but they committed just three turnovers compared to 10 for the Buckeyes.
Ohio State will next be in action Wednesday as it hosts Minnesota.