Senior Dante Thorpe scored a game-high 20 points on 5-of-6 shooting from the field, and a perfect 6-of-6 from the line. Junior Eugene German added 15 points and a career-high tying six assists and senior Levi Bradley chipped in 14 points.
With the win, Huskie head coach Mark Montgomery earned his 100th career win, becoming just the fourth head coach in NIU history to reach the century mark, joining John McDougal (136), Chick Evans (125) and Brian Hammel (117).
"It was a typical MAC game, the second time around both teams know each other and it was one of those grinders," said Montgomery. "Defenses were stingy both ways; we made some plays down the stretch to extend the lead. Credit our defense in the second half, (Ohio) only shot 28 percent (8-of-28) … This was all (about) the defensive effort today, and that's what it's going to take to win games."
Trailing 50-49 with just under seven minutes to play, NIU used a 10-1 run to take a 59-51 lead. A pair of triples from Thorpe, both off feeds from German, and a pair of free throws by German, and a layup from German to cap the run helped push the Huskies in front by eight with 4:47 left.
Ohio (11-9, 3-5 MAC) knocked down a three to trim the lead to five, but Thorpe cashed in another long ball, this one off a dish from sophomore Rod Henry-Hayes, as the lead went right back to eight.
A pair of free throws by the Washington, D.C., native helped extend NIU's advantage to 10. A Bobcat three then trimmed the Huskie lead to 64-57 with just under two minutes left, but NIU went 7-of-8 from the free-throw line in the final minutes to close out the win.
NIU (12-9, 5-3 MAC) went 19-of-22 (86.4 percent) from the line in the contest, including 17-of-18 (94.4 percent) in the second half.
Jason Carter scored a team-high 15 points to lead Ohio, Teyvion Kirk added 10 points.
Tied at nine in the early going, baskets from German and senior Jaylen Key (Milwaukee, Wis./Homestead) helped NIU take a slim four-point lead six minutes into the contest.
Ohio was within three with a triple from the wing by freshman Trendon Hankerson (Novi, Mich./Novi) pushed the NIU lead to a half-dozen, 18-12, with just over 12 minutes to play in the opening half.
The NIU lead grew to seven, 21-14, but the Bobcats answered with the next seven to pull back even with just under six minutes to play in the first half.
A 7-2 burst, capped by a trifecta from freshman Austin Richie (Glenwood, Ill./Don Bosco Institute), pushed the Huskies back in front, 28-23, but Ohio answered with an 8-1 run that put the Bobcats in front, 31-29, with just over a minute to play in the half.
Bradley capped the scoring with a layup as NIU and Ohio went to the intermission tied, 31-31.
Ohio was held without a field goal for over nine minutes early in the second half, but the Bobcats went 8-of-10 from the free-throw line during that stretch as the contest was tied, 43-43, at the midway point of the second 20 minutes.
The Bobcats had edged in front, 50-49, with a basket just before the seven-minute mark of the second half before Thorpe caught fire from three-point range and the Huskies pulled away for their first season sweep of Ohio since the 2002-03 season.