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Cam Spencer hits late three as Rutgers hangs on for victory over Northwestern

The Scarlet Knights bounce back with a big victory on the road.

NCAA Basketball: Rutgers at Northwestern David Banks-USA TODAY Sports

The stage was set, the lead was gone, and Rutgers needed a play to be made in the final 30 seconds.

Enter Cam Spencer.

The Scarlet Knights found themselves trailing with less than a minute remaining after holding a double-digit lead in the second half. Down two, Paul Mulcahy was able to set up Spencer for what would be the game-winning shot from three-point range. He added two late free throws before Rutgers got the stop it needed to secure a 65-62 win over Northwestern at Welsh-Ryan Arena in Evanston, Ill.

Rutgers (12-5, 4-2) bounces back from a home loss on Sunday to Iowa. After coming out slow against the Hawkeyes, Rutgers was prepared and ready to play on both ends on Wednesday night. The Scarlet Knights built an early lead hitting 8-of-14 to begin the game and six of their first 10 from deep.

On the defensive end, Rutgers did not commit a foul over the first 14 minutes of the game and held Northwestern (12-4, 3-2) to 33% from the field in the first half. The Scarlet Knights slowed down, missing 12 of their final 16 shot attempts in the first half, but remained ahead at the break.

Rutgers led for the first 35 minutes of the contest but the Wildcats got hot at the right time. Late in the second half, Northwestern scored on nine consecutive possessions and was able to go in front by one with 4:30 left to play.

With 1:14 left, Northwestern built a four-point lead but two free throws from Mulcahy and Spencer’s three put Rutgers back in front. Mulcahy logged 12 points, six rebounds, and six assists. Spencer knocked down 6-of-7 from three-point range on his way to 23 points. He has missed just one free throw on the season.

Rutgers, who came into the game averaging 5.6 made threes per game, finished 11-for-18 on Wednesday night.

The Scarlet Knights will return home on Sunday to host Ohio State in what could be a revenge game. In December, the Buckeyes hit a buzzer-beating three, that should not have counted, to sink Rutgers. The Scarlet Knights hold one of the best home-court advantages in the nation and will have some extra motivation on Sunday when Ohio State comes to town.