Rutgers men’s basketball can take a punch, but they proved once again on Wednesday night that they can hit back too. The Scarlet Knights defeated Northwestern 65-62 on the road with another last minute comeback.
After leading the entire game and up 52-43 with over seven minutes to play, Northwestern rattled off a 19-6 run to lead 62-58 with a minute remaining. The Wildcats hit big shots to knock Rutgers down, but they kept getting up.
After Paul Mulcahy hit two free throws and RU got a big defensive stop, it was Cam Spencer time once again. He had a tremendous performance in making 6 of 7 three-pointers. None bigger was his last as Mulcahy found him similar to the way he did for the game winning shot against No. 1 Purdue last week. Spencer was able to make it again with 15 seconds to play. Rutgers led by 1 before getting another huge stop as Aundre Hyatt came up with the steal. Spencer hit two free throws and Northwestern missed a desperation three as the Scarlet Knights won their second straight road game in Big Ten play.
Spencer finished with a game high 23 points on 7 of 14 from the floor and 3 of 3 from the foul line. He added 4 rebounds, 2 assists, a block and a steal.
Mulcahy struggled at times to maintain his composure and was called for two technical fouls due to flopping. However, he was able to persevere and finished with 12 points on 4 of 13 shooting along with 6 rebounds, 6 assists, 2 steals and a block. He made sure the offense flowed as the team assisted on 16 of 23 made field goals.
Aundre Hyatt scored 10 points off the bench along with 3 rebounds, 2 assists, a block and a steal while playing tough defense down the stretch. Cliff Omoruyi only scored 4 points but grabbed 11 rebounds, blocked 2 shots and played well defensively.
Rutgers held a 22-16 edge with points in the paint, a +5 rebounding margin and a 13-7 advantage with second chance points. As a team, they were 11 of 18 from behind the arc for 61% while Northwestern was 10 of 27 for 37%. The 11 threes tied a program record for most in a Big Ten game.
RU made 8 of 10 foul shots while the Wildcats came in shooting 75% but were just 10 of 18 for 56%.
The Scarlet Knights have now won 6 of their last 11 Big Ten road games dating back to last season. This program is evolving into road warriors. They have held all seventeen opponents to below their scoring average this season. For game highlights, the postgame presser, the box score and more, click here.
Here is my rapid reaction video to the win including the key play off the bench of Aundre Hyatt and some big picture meaning with this victory.
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