EVANSTON, Ill. (AP) -- Kosta Koufos scored 16 points and grabbed 11 rebounds, Jamar Butler set the school's all-time assist record, and Ohio State beat Northwestern 65-47 for a much-needed victory on Wednesday night.
With their NCAA hopes in doubt after reaching the finals last year, the Buckeyes (17-8, 8-4 Big Ten) could not afford a letdown after losing two of their previous three games. The defending Big Ten champions went on a 19-4 run in the second half to give coach Thad Matta his 200th career win and put away a team that is still searching for its first conference victory.
Butler had 12 points and six assists, giving him 517 -- one more than former record holder Kelvin Ransey.
Othello Hunter, who scored 14 points, started the decisive run with a basket down low and a dunk that turned a one-point lead into a 39-34 advantage with 12:40 left. Jon Diebler scored six of his nine points during that stretch, including a 3-pointer that made it 54-38 with just over five minutes remaining. And Evan Turner had five of his 10 during that run.
Craig Moore scored 15 for Northwestern (7-15, 0-11), but it wasn't enough to snap the Wildcats' 16 game conference losing streak -- not counting a loss to Michigan State in last year's tournament.