Rutgers showed the grit and toughness of a Steve Pikiell-coached team for 40 minutes, and more, on Wednesday night — and did it on the defensive end of the floor.
The Scarlet Knights fell behind by 12 with 9:39 remaining. Rutgers did not allow a Nebraska field goal from that moment on and closed on an 18-6 run to force overtime.
The Scarlet Knights made shots when it mattered and closed out an 87-82 win over the Cornhuskers at Jersey Mike’s Arena in Piscataway.
Rutgers (10-7, 2-4) now has a Quad 2 victory under its belt in its first contest. The Scarlet Knights are now 9-0 in games against Quad 2-4 opponents but just 1-7 against Quad 1 teams.
Both halves seemed to be a copy of one another. In the first half, a Juwan Gray three-pointer gave Nebraska a 27-15 lead with just under nine minutes remaining. Rutgers closed the first half on an 21-9 run to tie the game at the break. The second half was more of the same as Rutgers closed out regulation on a big run to force overtime.
It was not the prettiest offensive performance but Rutgers got double-digit points from all five starters, led by 17 points from Aundre Hyatt.
Derek Simpson filled up the stat sheet with 14 points, eight rebounds, and eight assists while Cliff Omoruyi totaled 14 points and 15 rebounds. The big man continues to be one of the best defenders in the conference and finished with four blocks.
Rutgers shot 38.5% from the field while holding the Huskers to 37.9%. The Scarlet Knights knocked down 11 three’s and struggled from the free throw line, going 16-for-30.
The Scarlet Knights will be back in action on Sunday as they take on No. 14 Illinois in Champaign.
Rutgers earned a much-needed win on Wednesday night. Is this a season saver? There are two answers to that. First, any loss from here on out will not help the case for the Scarlet Knights. And of course, they are still in search of that statement win to put themselves back in the race. There will be a big chance to pick it up on Sunday.