Geo Baker and Montez Mathis scored 12 points apiece, and visiting Rutgers held on for a 59-56 win over Northwestern on Wednesday night in Evanston, Ill.
Eugene Omoruyi added 11 points, including a pair of free throws with nine seconds remaining to help seal the outcome. Rutgers (12-12, 5-9 Big Ten) snapped a three-game losing streak.
Vic Law led the Wildcats with 17 points, but he missed a 3-point attempt on the final possession that would have evened the score and forced overtime. A.J. Turner chipped in 11 points for Northwestern (12-12, 3-10), which sustained its season-worst fifth loss in a row.
Northwestern went on a 13-5 run to pull within 57-56 with 25 seconds to go. Law made it a one-point game as he drained back-to-back 3-pointers.
Law missed a potential go-ahead jump shot before Omoruyi increased the lead to three points with his free throws. Law missed again in the waning moments.
A 3-pointer by Aaron Falzon gave Northwestern a 38-34 lead with 12:37 remaining in the second half, but the lead quickly vanished as Rutgers recovered on offense.
The Scarlet Knights seized control with an 18-5 run that put them on top 52-43 with 5:23 left. Baker played a key role in the outburst, as he lobbed a pass to Shaquille Doorson for an alley-oop dunk, fired a pass to Omoruyi for a 3-pointer and then added a bucket of his own on a three-possession sequence.
The game was tied at 22 at the half.
Northwestern scored the first six points before Rutgers battled back to take a 14-13 lead on a 3-pointer by Baker. The Scarlet Knights increased their advantage to 22-16 on a jump shot by Myles Johnson with 3:48 left in the half.
The Wildcats responded with a 6-0 run before the break to even the score. Barret Benson had a dunk, Turner made a layup and Anthony Gaines sank a pair of free throws to erase the deficit.
Rutgers will return home for its next game against No. 21 Iowa on Saturday evening.
Meanwhile, Northwestern will hit the road to face Nebraska in a game also scheduled for Saturday evening.
—Field Level Media