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Jacob Young leads Rutgers past Minnesota and into the NCAA Tournament

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The Scarlet Knights all but clinched their spot in the big dance with a 77-70 victory over the Golden Gophers.

NCAA Basketball: Rutgers at Minnesota David Berding-USA TODAY Sports

Sometimes the biggest shot of a game is overshadowed.

Rutgers lined up for the overtime tip having allowed Minnesota to go on a 17-5 run to tie the game.

After winning the tip, Jacob Young was able to get in the lane and knock down a floater to give Rutgers the lead and completely change the momentum of the game.

Young scored six of his game-high 23 points in overtime as Rutgers picked up a 77-70 victory over Minnesota on Saturday in Minneapolis.

It was a must-win situation for Rutgers when they entered Williams Arena to take on the Golden Gophers after their worst performance of the season against Nebraska. The team responded in a big way.

This win brings Rutgers to the magic number of 10 victories in the Big Ten and all but secures that they will hear their name called on Selection Sunday and clinch an NCAA Tournament berth for the first time in 30 years.

In the first meeting between these two teams back on Feb. 4, there were 10 ties and 22 lead changes. This trend continued in the second meeting. The first half saw these teams go back-and-forth. In the first 20 minutes, there were six ties and 11 lead changes.

Baker highlighted an 8-0 run with a four-point play with 2:54 left in the half. He scored 10 of his XX points in the first half. Young led the way with 11 points.

The Scarlet Knights were able to go on a run at the end of the first half. They scored on their final seven possessions, including a Montez Mathis dunk on a pass from Young as the clock expired. This gave Rutgers a 37-28 lead heading into the break.

In that first meeting, the Scarlet Knights had a difficult time with Marcus Carr. He was held scoreless and picked up three fouls in the first half of this one.

The Scarlet Knights built the lead to double-digits quickly in the second half and it ballooned to 14 with 12:44 left. Over the next 10 minutes of action, Minnesota would go on a 21-9 run to get within two with a little over two minutes remaining – and they leaned on their free throw shooting.

The Golden Gophers went 24-29 from the charity stripe in this one and this kept them in the game despite shooting 31.3% from the field.

Minnesota ended regulation on a 17-5 run, capped off by a 3-pointer by Carr with 43 seconds remaining. The redshirt junior had been 0-for-10 until the game-tying shot that ultimately sent the game to overtime. Baker could not get a last second shot to go.

Rutgers outscored Minnesota 14-7 in the extra period. Young was the catalyst on both ends of the floor for the Scarlet Knights all game long but took over in overtime. He finished with 23 points, seven assists, and four steals. Young led four Scarlet Knights who finished in double-figures.

Myles Johnson grabbed a game-high 15 rebounds while Geo Baker and Montez Mathis scored 12 points each. Ron Harper Jr. finished with 11 points, including three makes from beyond the arc.

Rutgers had their hand back over the panic button after getting run out of the gym by Nebraska. There was a collective sigh of relief as the final buzzer sounded to give the Scarlet Knights their 10th conference victory with the Big Ten Tournament beginning on Wednesday.

The Scarlet Knights have put themselves in a position to play in the NCAA Tournament and that is a testament to the job Steve Pikiell has done along with this group of upperclassmen. Somewhere Keith Hughes and Earl Duncan are smiling.