EVANSTON, Ill. — D.J. Carton was disappointed with his play. He wanted to deliver for his teammates on slumping Ohio State.

He felt much better after one impressive stretch on Sunday.

Carton scored 12 of his 17 points in the second half, helping the Buckeyes hold off lowly Northwestern for a sorely needed 71-59 win.

“I’ve been working hard on practice, and my teammates put a lot of belief in me and push me at practice,” Carton said, “so it’s starting to come along and my confidence is building.”

Once ranked as high as No. 2 in the AP Top 25, the Buckeyes had dropped six of seven to plummet out of the poll altogether. But they got back on track behind their defense, holding the

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