If Duane Washington Jr. is Ohio State’s point guard for a while, his performance Wednesday night provides plenty of optimism moving forward.

Due to injuries to CJ Walker and Jimmy Sotos, Washington was forced to be Ohio State’s primary ballhandler in the starting lineup. Though traditionally a combo-guard, Washington looked good early on and put up a career-high 23 points in the win.

Wednesday’s game between the Wildcats and Buckeyes turned out to be more dramatic than the 10-point final margin would indicate. A large reason for that had to do with Washington and Northwestern guard Chase Audige going back and forth throughout the first half.

At the break, Audige had posted 21 points, carrying the Wildcats with the rest of the starting lineup struggling. After halftime, Audige’s supporting cast woke up as Northwestern made it close with under five minutes to go.

Following a huge three-pointer from Boo Buie, the Wildcats cut the lead to 67-66 and appeared primed to finish off the upset. But a string of strong defensive stops by the Buckeyes allowed Chris Holtmann’s squad to finish the game on a 14-5 run and secure the win.

Washington added six assists with just a lone turnover to go with three rebounds in his impressive performance. Audige also set a career-high with 25 points, eclipsing his previous high mark of 24 points from his freshman season at William and Mary.