It wasn't pretty but a win is a win.
Rutgers won their third straight game on Sunday night with a 64-56 victory over Northwestern at the Welsh-Ryan Arena. This was the eighth-straight loss for the Wildcats.
This was an ugly game from the opening tip. Teams combined for 38 turnovers, 14 missed free throws, and shot 9-42 from three-point range. Rutgers improves to 10-6 on the year and 6-6 in Big Ten play.
The Scarlet Knights came out hot in this one. They were able to build a 31-11 lead 11 minutes into the game. The tide turned from that moment on as Northwestern went on an 18-3 run to cut the lead to just five heading into halftime. Rutgers did not make a field goal over the final 8:50 and attempted just five.
The second half began in a similar way. Rutgers outscored Northwestern 21-11 over the first 14 minutes of the second half. The lead ballooned to 55-40 but the Wildcats had enough left in the tank to make one final push. Northwestern went on a 10-0 run to get back within five points with 2:55 left in the game. Ron Harper Jr. and Jacob Young played the closers tonight over the final three minutes.
Harper Jr. scored all 13 of his points in the second half while Jacob Young led the team with 19 points on 6-10 from the field.
The Scarlet Knights struggled from deep going just 5-22 from beyond the arc. They won the game with defense once again. Rutgers forced 20 Wildcat turnovers and scored 19 points off them.
Rutgers is beginning to turn things around as we prepare to enter the month of February. The Scarlet Knights have eight games left on the schedule that is as light as it gets in the Big Ten. At 6-6 in conference play, Rutgers will have to win at least four more games to put themselves in a favorable position in terms of postseason chances. With the way the defense is playing, the Scarlet Knights should have confidence going forward.
Rutgers will be back in action on Thursday night as No. 21 Minnesota visits the RAC.